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Martin Amis, Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million

Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million

B-

The novelist’s take on Sovietism is a high-end clip job in which he regurgitates the writings of historians, dissidents, and apparatchiks and briefly demonstrates the thoroughness of Stalin’s evil. The second paragraph in Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million mentions that, during the enforced famine of 1933, horse manure was a staple of some peasant diets. Things get worse from there. Though the catalog of atrocities is duly atrocious, there is no fresh thesis, and Amis’ autobiographical intrusions — about the comsymp youth of his famous father, the leftism of his friend Christopher Hitchens, and the death of his middle-aged sister — fit poorly with his discussion of purges and prison camps. This odd volume has the flavor of an exercise, of an imaginer of comic dystopias immersing himself in unimaginable horror.

Koba the Dread: Laughter and the Twenty Million
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