Black Earth City: A Year in the Heart of Russia by Charlotte Hobson

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In September 1991, the Soviet Union is collapsing and people conquer uncertainty, hunger, and negative-twenty degree temperatures by drinking too much vodka and revelling in their new-found sexual freedom. Charlotte Hobson is our irresistible guide to this tumultuous time. We meet Yakov, who blows half-a-million rubles on a taxi to see a girl in Minsk; Lola, who sleeps with her peers for a share of their dinner; Viktor, who struggles to forget his brutal memories of military service; and Mitya, Hobson’s wild and optimistic lover, whose gradual disillusion and dissolution mirror his country’s lurch from euphoria to despair.

Foreword: Peter Pomerantsev