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Letters of Insurgents

by: Fredy Perlman

Publisher: Left Bank Books (1976)

$20.00

Staff Pick by comrade: AD

In a series of long letters across the Atlantic, two individuals reencounter each other after twenty years and find themselves separated by more than just geographic distance. Having taken part in an uprising that shaped their lives powerfully, they are now harshly at odds about that moment's meaning. It turns out that their common experience was anything but, and they will have to reckon with that terrible dissonance. Their struggle to do so becomes a living portrait of the richness, complexity, and tragedy of humans who encounter an insurgent spirit and then are torn by the return to normal life. All of the revolutionary themes appear here in the array of characters: each coping mechanism, each absurdity, every illusion, and every beautiful broken rebellion. It's not short, and it's not easy. But if your life is one of those shaped by beautiful, impossible ideas, reading these letters is the best method of self-defense against the rest of your life I can imagine.

ThenovelisasubtleandcomplexnarrativewhichtakestheformoffictionallettersbetweentwoEasternEuropeanworkers,YarostanVochekandSophiaNachalo,whoareseparatedafterafailedrevolution.Yarostanspendstwelveyearsinstatistjails,whileSophiaescapestotheWest.Aftertwentyyearswithoutcontact,theybegintowriteeachotherabouttheirexperiences,theirlives,theirhopes,andtheirmemoriesofthepast.