Monday, December 23, 2013

Taste of Cold River

Czesław Miłosz was right when he wrote that “The habit of civilisation  is fragile”—and that “[t]he man of the East cannot take Americans seriously because they have never undergone the experiences that teach men how relative their judgments and thinking habits are.” That sense of the impossibility of understanding, of being understood, and the drama, the resentment, the jealousy and bitterness that often accompanied that feeling—perhaps that has not entirely disappeared, but it has faded. Eastern European Ashes  

People had made difficult choices in a world in which those choices had perhaps seemed the best possible ones. And suddenly they had to account for those choices in a new world in which all the rules had changed. What might have felt like the best possible decision in difficult circumstances suddenly no longer seemed liked the best possible decision when judged by the gaze of a new world. In some ways this book is my attempt to explain why the fall of communism in Eastern Europe was not a fairy tale’s happy ending. Cold River

The sky has fallen on literature so many times that we can be forgiven for approaching the latest round of digital doom-saying with some skepticism of our own. For all the protestations that "it's really different this time," sometimes it seems like people just get off on prophesying gloom. Why Real Cold River Will Always Beat Technology