Thomas Dylan Eaton

  • culture July 12, 2017

    The Moravian Night by Peter Handke

    In The Moravian Night, a former writer invites acquaintances to his houseboat anchored on the Morava river near the Balkan village of Porodin, a locale described as “one of the last enclaves in Europe.” With the accompaniment of a “frog chorus” singing from nearby reed beds, and the assistance of a surprise guest—an “unknown woman” who later becomes integral to the story—the ex-author recounts his travels in the Balkans, Spain, Germany, and Austria.

    Peter Handke is an acclaimed and prolific author of novels, plays, essays, and poems. A cultural icon of postwar Germany and Austria, he garnered an early reputation as a provocateur with works like Offending the Audience (1966) and Self-Accusation (1966). Handke was internationally acclaimed as a gifted prose stylist, with ruminative, extended sentences that had what John Updike called a “knifelike clarity of evocation.” Later in his career, Handke became embroiled in controversy as he became an outspoken supporter of Serbia during the Yugoslav wars, downplayed the fact that Serbian paramilitaries

  • culture August 01, 2016

    From Russia with Love

    In Secondhand Time, the latest work of non-fiction by Nobel laureate Svetlana Alexievich, the frank and harrowing confessions of Homo sovieticus are recorded for posterity. By way of candid conversation, Alexievich sounds out disenchanted voices from across the former USSR. Here is an oral history rooted in totalitarian experience.

    During the drained-out years of the 1960s and ’70s, when there was no public outlet for a frank conversation, Homo sovieticus would gather with friends in a Moscow kitchen, identical in shape and size to those in concrete apartment blocks all over the USSR. The radio would be turned to full volume, drowning out loose talk that might otherwise escape through pre-fabricated walls. The décor would display only muffled colors—the mediocre browns and grays of the Soviet everyday. On a shelf: a three-litre jar of birch juice, pickled cucumbers and a gray salami procured for a special occasion. The