Last Witnesses by Svetlana Alexievich

Caroline Moorehead at The Guardian:

It is no coincidence that most of her witnesses have been women. Alexievich, who began her writing life as a reporter on a local paper in Belarus, realised early on that what she was looking for, the memory of what things felt like, is better conveyed by women, who feel little shame in expressing an unvarnished sense of remembered horror. The death of beloved sons is a constant refr, as is that of suicide, about which she has also written a number of short storiesain that runs through her books. Embittered by wars in which they have been tricked into fighting, maimed by wounds that never heal, revolted by killings in which they were forced to take part, Alexievich’s male characters come home from war to take their own lives, leaving their desolate mothers to grieve anew. “They sent me back,” one woman says bleakly in Boys in Zinc, “a different man.”

more here.