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Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? But as Slavenka Drakulic observes, "in everyday life, the revolution consists much more of the small things--of sounds, looks and images. In the place of the fallen Berlin Wall there is a chasm between East and West, consisting of the different way people continue to live and understand the world.
Little bits--or intimations--of the West are gradually making their way east: boutiques carrying Levis and tiny food shops called "Supermarket" are multiplying on main boulevards.
Despite the fact that Drakulic can find a Cafe Europa, complete with Viennese-style coffee and Western decor, in just about every Eastern European city, the acceptance of the East by the rest of Europe continues to prove much more elusive. Read more Read less. Amazon International Store International products have separate terms, are sold from abroad and may differ from local products, including fit, age ratings, and language of product, labeling or instructions.
Manufacturer warranty may not apply. Learn more about Amazon International Store. Review "Insightful This book not only helps to illuminate the political and social problems facing much of Eastern Europe, but also sheds new light on the daily life of its residents, their emotional habits, fears and dreams. Today in Eastern Europe the architectural work of revolution is complete: the old order has been replaced by various forms of free-market economy and de jure democracy.
But as Slavenka Drakulic observes, "in everyday life, the revolution consists much more of the small things - of sounds, looks and images. In this brilliant work of political reportage filtered through her own experience, we see that Europe remains a divided continent. In the place of the fallen Berlin Wall, there is a chasm between East and West, consisting of the different way people continue to live and understand the world.
Are these differences a communist legacy, or do they run even deeper? What divides us today? To say simply that it is the understanding of the past, or a different concept of time, is not enough.
But a visitor to this part of the world will soon discover that the Eastern Europeans live in another time zone. They live in the twentieth century, but at the same time they inhabit a past full of myths and fairy tales, of blood and national belonging. About the Author Slavenka Drakulic was born in Croatia in The author of several works of nonfiction and novels, she has written for The New York Times , The Nation , The New Republic , and numerous publications around the world.
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Verified Purchase. This book is about the 's in Eastern Europe, especially in the Balkans. It seems slightly outdated, but it is so well written that it definitely kept me going. It reads very fast. The book gets better and better as you go on. Some of the very pessimistic prophecies of the author were wrong, but many of her observations and thoughts seem to be very accurate and straight to the point. The relationship with her own country is very troubled and most of the Non-Croat readers, without any deeper insight into regional politics, will not be able to fully understand her point of view.
Whether she is right or wrong, she always writes well. Most of the time she is very pessimistic. The book is actually completely soaked in sadness. There is in it no sign of excitement about freedom, democracy or free market economy Instead, there is a strong conviction that the peoples of Eastern Europe are not mature enough to benefit from and build on any of these. I personally don't agree; the results of the systemic changes in the region have been mixed, with some extremely successful and some extremely disappointing and troubling cases.
In fact, the 's were the last decade when the region could be still discussed as one item. Today, these are all very different countries. Drakulic delivers another series of short essays, in the style of her earlier "How We Survived Communism". She ruminates on subjects as far afield as her distaste for the word "we" because of its communist overtones, which leads to the verdict that the western concept of "I", of self-reliance and modernity in a civil state, is a notion still to be embraced in eastern Europe.
It is for precisely the same reason that she admires Americans their fetish for perfect teeth, because they represent self-respect and independence from shoddy state-sponsored dental care. Many of the essays in the book deal with the peculiar talent in eastern Europe for hiding and forgetting the past, thereby evading responsibility and missing the opportunity to learn from it. This flair for forgetfulness causes Drakulic's mother to fear for the sanctity of her husband's grave, marked by a communist star vulnerable to those who would destroy symbols of forty years of communism.
It is this same talent that allows fascist "Ustasha" symbols from the s to be revived in the s under the guise of nationalism. The same phenomenon that impels each generation of politicians to rename streets and plazas in order to avoid any public recognition of historical figures whose views place them, at least temporarily, on the wrong side of today's political fences. It is this same failure of history that forces a Croatian journalist to mince words and ask facile questions during an exclusive interview with Dinko Sakic, the notorious concentration camp commander.
Drakulic is a bit exasperated when, on a visit to Israel, she is barraged with questions about Croatia's fascist role during World War II. Once the final social order had been established, there was no need to look backwards - or forwards, for that matter Perhaps this is the reason why we are now, with this recent war, sentenced to live in the past.
Sometimes I ask myself whether this is the punishment for our lack of interest in history, for our fear, silence and irresponsibility towards ourselves. For our ingnorance. The only jarring note is the essay titled "Why I Never Visited Moscow", in which Drakulic bemoans the fact that she has been categorized as an eastern European writer.
Perhaps Drakulic, who has won awards, fame, and money with her admirable accounts of eastern Europe, is being a bit self-righteous when she complains about being viewed as an eastern European writer. This is a good book, and one worth reading.
It's not a history book nor a work of political philosophy. The analysis isn't rigrously done. I don't say these things as criticisms, but rather to point out what sort of book it is.
It's a book of essays that provide a particular picture of what life was like in the early 90's in post-communist Eastern and Central Europe. Many times these pictures are insightful and can help throw light on a situaiton.
They can help provide that "ah-ha! So, it fills a good roll that way, but you should not expect it to be something it's not. My only other criticism is that sometimes it got a bit too close to the "why are we eastern europeans so dumb?
But, it's an enjoyable book that would be useful for anyone with an interest in post-communist eastern europe. The Differences. Slavenka Drakulic is both a skilled writer and a capable interpreter of the human condition.
Cafe Europa is not a standard history text; rather it is a collection of related articles that reveal the attitudes, perceptions, and behaviors of individuals who have lived in both the communist world as well as the post-communist period.
Drakulic is a great travel companion with a keen feel for the people that she writes about. I approached the book expecting a useful social commentary and found it to be both enlightening and difficult to put down. Anyone who wants to truly understand this part of the world needs to read this one!
This book may be a nineties look at how things will turn out in Europe, so some may say it's out of date, but its perspective on history makes it that much more valid. Drakulic's experience doesn't change, what happened to the East doesn't change. This book is a brilliant, detail-oriented look at how Europe was before and after the Soviet Union, and I want to read everything else she's written.
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Would you like to tell us about a lower price? If you are a seller for this product, would you like to suggest updates through seller support? But as Slavenka Drakulic observes, "in everyday life, the revolution consists much more of the small things--of sounds, looks and images. In the place of the fallen Berlin Wall there is a chasm between East and West, consisting of the different way people continue to live and understand the world. Little bits--or intimations--of the West are gradually making their way east: boutiques carrying Levis and tiny food shops called "Supermarket" are multiplying on main boulevards.
Review: Cafe Europa by Slavenka Drakulić
As countries like Croatia tossed aside old street names, square names, and place names to reflect the change in power from communism to democracy, citizens saw their own personal history erased at the same time as everyone glossed over how they participated. I enjoyed this book because the author beautifully explains that many of the emerging democracies infantilized under communism are actually stuck in feudal behavior as much as communist behavior. The political system may have changed for the better, but the author felt it will be years until citizens know how to work the system, rather than subvert the system the old way of surviving and also how to look to themselves as personally responsible. You are commenting using your WordPress.
Cafe Europa: Life After Communism