“Eastern Europe is disappearing. Not the physical place, but the idea. Whatever held the region together in the mind’s eye — a shared experience of occupation and exclusion, the permanent-seeming weight of economic backwardness, treasured memories of defeat — is gone, or at least not as present as it had been.” – Jacob Mikanowski
GOODBYE EASTERN EUROPE
by Jacob Mikanowski
Knopf, Winter 2021
(chez Frances Goldin Literary Agency – voir catalogue)
In the wake of the Soviet Union’s collapse, the bonds that held all the various nations of Eastern Europe together as Soviet satellites have dissolved, calling into question what exactly connects them, and whether there was ever any such place to begin with. But, Mikanowski argues, there really was something more to Eastern Europe than shared political subjection. Eastern Europe had a particular character, and this book will name and describe the peculiar flavor of the place, from the Baltics to the Balkans, from Prague to Kiev. Part history, part travelogue, part reading of the disparate canon of Eastern European literature, GOODBYE EASTERN EUROPE will be a work in the tradition of Ian Frazier’s Travels in Siberia, or Simon Winder’s Germania or Danubia—an anatomy of a region as refracted through its literature, and a fascinating exploration of an incredibly diverse, complex, and surprising terrain.
Jacob Mikanowski is a journalist, critic and essayist. His work has appeared in The New York Times, The Atlantic Monthly, Harper’s, The Guardian, Lapham’s Quarterly, and elsewhere. He grew up in the US, but his family is Polish.