HOW WE SURVIVED COMMUNISM AND EVEN LAUGHED by Slavenka Drakulic

HOW WE SURVIVED COMMUNISM AND EVEN LAUGHED

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KIRKUS REVIEW

A poignant and truthful look at what living under Communism was really like, by Croatian journalist and novelist Drakulic. The author, daughter of a former partisan who was a high-ranking Communist army officer, was never a member of the Party herself. Here, she conveys the reality of life under Communism through ordinary but telling detail: the wonder of a man who, for the first time in his life, was able to eat a banana--and ate it skin and all, marveling at its texture; Draculic's own bewilderment at finding fresh strawberries in N.Y.C. in December; the feel of the quality of the paper in an issue of Vogue; the desperate lengths to which women under the Communist regime would go to find cosmetics or clothes or something that would make them feel feminine in a society where such a feeling was regarded as a bourgeois affectation. Drakulic dismisses the argument that Western manufacturers have manipulated these needs: ""To tell us that they are making a profit by exploiting our needs is like warning a Bangladeshi about cholesterol."" Though herself a feminist, she willingly turns amusing in describing the uncomprehending questions sent to her by a New York editor who asked about the role of feminism in political discourse in Eastern Europe, when there was no political discourse and when feminists were--and apparently still are--regarded as enemies of the people. ""We may have survived Communism,"" Drakulic writes, ""but we have not yet outlived it."" To the author, Communism is more than an ideology or a method of government--it is a state of mind that is yet to be erased from the collective consciousness of those who have lived under it. A sometimes sad, sometimes witty book that conveys more about politics in Eastern Europe than any number of theoretical political analyses.

Pub Date: March 23rd, 1992
ISBN: 0060975407
Page count: 288pp
Publisher: Norton