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2+ Works 146 Membros 5 Reviews

About the Author

Charlotte Hobson was born in Wilshire, England in 1970. She spent much of the nineties living in Russia, working for the Saatchi agency in Moscow and as an interpreter in the south of the country and Transcaucasia. Hobson now divides her time between translating and writing her first novel. She mostrar mais lives in Cornwall. (Bowker Author Biography) mostrar menos

Obras de Charlotte Hobson

Black Earth City: A Year in the Heart of Russia (2001) 105 cópias, 3 resenhas
The Vanishing Futurist (2016) 41 cópias, 2 resenhas

Associated Works

Virgin Soil (1877) — Introdução, algumas edições538 cópias, 11 resenhas
Granta 64: Russia the Wild East (1998) — Contribuinte — 162 cópias


Conhecimento Comum

Data de nascimento
United Kingdom
Local de nascimento
Wiltshire, England, UK
University of Edinburgh, Scotland



Charlotte Hobson has written a book that touches on two subjects that interest me enormously: the Russian Revolution and time travel. Without giving away too much of the plot -- and there is a central mystery which is explained on the very first page -- suffice it to say that the real time travellers here are the author and reader. Hobson has managed to get into the mind of a young English woman who finds herself in the Moscow of 1918. That woman founds an urban commune with her friends, and the stories of their struggles to create a new life together remind me of some stories of the early kibbutzim -- such as the sharing of clothing. Hobson doesn't flinch from describing the reality of Bolshevik Russia -- the cold, the hunger, the stifling bureaucracy, the lawlessness of the secret police (the Cheka), all of this happening not in the 1930s under Stalin, but in the first year of Lenin and Trotsky's rule. She understands all that, but she also gets the excitement and the hope, and the possibilities that the overthrow of the tsarist regime opened up. An excellent first novel.… (mais)
ericlee | 1 outra resenha | Nov 1, 2017 |
In the 1970s, an elderly Englishwoman thinks back to her youth, specifically the five years she spent in Moscow. She went there in 1914 as a governess, to the horror of her very conventional parents - they only let her go because a stout and upstanding member of their chapel, Miss Clegg, had worked in Moscow for 10 years and made the introduction to Gerty's new employers. Miss Clegg gives Gerty advice on how to stay out of trouble, but Gerty is rebellious - "I'll do my best to encounter untowardness", she thinks.

She is soon caught up in the romance of the large, disorderly family she works for - and, when it comes, the October revolution. By mid-1918, she is part of the Institute of Revolutionary Transformation, a commune that she has established with a group of friends. Their hallmark is to believe in the perfectability of the human being, and their manifesto "declares war" on the Private, the Old and the Ego. But human nature is more stubborn than that, and the commune becomes a microcosm of the trends, good and bad, in the wider Soviet world.

Gerty is conscious of the negative impact the Revolution had on many people, and is ashamed that she and her friends ignored what they knew to be the truth. But at the same time they were caught up in a hopeful idealism, the search for better lives and better relationships. The group's ringleader, a genius and crazed scientist and engineer called Nikita Slavkin (the vanishing futurist of the title) urges them: "Each time we - just we few - allow ourselves to imagine a harmonious world, we bring it closer. We are creating a future here, in our minds." Slavkin's inventions include the Propaganda Machine, which in 5 minutes of sensory overload aimed to create socialists from bourgeouis consciousnesses. His final invention is the Socialisation Machine, which transports the user to an alternate or future world where Communism is already a reality. But when he and his machine disappear, is that his ultimate success or failure?

This was a terrific read. It took me vividly into a world which I couldn't have imagined before, both in the hardships and the idealism - and it is a plea for optimism and belief in the possibility of making things better, however hard things get.
… (mais)
wandering_star | 1 outra resenha | Jun 12, 2017 |
This is a biographical account of the author’s student year in Russia, in the early 1990s. Names have been altered, and the details of some incidents also changed. But the bulk of the account is factual.

The author arrived shortly after the coup that began the fall of Communism, and spent her year amongst locals, learning the language and culture as part of the student community. So the account is a mixture of her personal life, the people she got to know, anecdotes from others, and comments on politics.

The writing is good, the pace works well. I got quite a good idea of what life was like in this era. However, the book didn’t ever feel like a coherent whole. It begins very well with the story of how Charlotte came to be studying Russian, and why she decided to go to the small, poverty-stricken town of Voronezh. But it doesn’t mention what she expected, or much about her feelings at all.

The characters all merged together in my mind and I found it impossible to remember who was whom. Maybe it was deliberate that they all melded into one, but it didn’t make for gripping reading, even though some of the stories told were fascinating.

I also found the endless vodka-drinking and joint-rolling to be tedious in the extreme. It seemed to occupy far too much of the narrative, when I’m sure there must have been many interesting things left out.

Recommended in a low-key way to anyone who would like to know what Russia was like from an outsider’s point of view in 1991.
… (mais)
SueinCyprus | outras 2 resenhas | Jan 26, 2016 |
A Student spends a year in Voranezh in Rissia. A well written & interesting tale, taking you, as the reader, back to Russia in 1991/2, as the societ Union split up. The book shows a Russia that is a strange mixture of communism, orthodox religion, poverty & capitalism. Engaging read.
CarolKub | outras 2 resenhas | Jun 21, 2010 |



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