Sophie Pinkham – Black Square: Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine
If you’ve ever had any interest in Ukraine, than look no further than Sophie Pinkham’s recent debut, Black Square: Adventures in Post-Soviet Ukraine (W.W. Norton & Company). This book is no mere accounting of current events. It is a beautifully rendered illustration of life in modern Ukraine that intertwines historical and cultural facts through the lens of the author’s own experiences. You’ll learn of the AIDS epidemic spreading like wildfire, and how corruption lingers so deep post-USSR it might never be clean again, while also watching as real people live their lives. As they camp by the sea and run naked through the streets and form gypsy punk bands. As they join a real, modern revolution. And you’ll see, because Sophie sees, that despite their suffering, the Ukrainian people still find beauty in their country. I think what I loved most about this book is that even while narrating the horrific state of affairs of my home country, Sophie never loses her sense of humor. You need a sense of humor to read about Ukraine. If not you might just cry.
I recently sat down to interview Sophie about it.
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