Robin Ashenden

Robin Ashenden

Interview with Slavenka Drakulić—the East-West Doyenne of the 1990s

Interview with Slavenka Drakulić—the East-West Doyenne of the 1990s

For anyone interested in Eastern Europe in the 1990s—that surreal time when the Berlin Wall had just fallen but the gulf between East and West remained palpable—the Croatian writer Slavenka Drakulić was required reading. Her books opened up to us that world from inside, written by a woman—

Robin Ashenden
Robin Ashenden
Books
The Enduring Relevance of Czesław Miłosz's 'The Captive Mind'

The Enduring Relevance of Czesław Miłosz's 'The Captive Mind'

Anyone watching the shenanigans at the New York Times of late could be forgiven for thinking it was a modern-dress staging of The Crucible or a Soviet purge. The US’s central “newspaper of record” (founded 1851) has recently, it seems, surrendered all editorial balance and autonomy. Bari Weiss, the

Robin Ashenden
Robin Ashenden
Books
Under the Frog: Why Tibor Fischer’s 1992 Booker-Nominated Novel May Have Found its Moment

Under the Frog: Why Tibor Fischer’s 1992 Booker-Nominated Novel May Have Found its Moment

In Szeged Hungary, while teaching at the university there, I met a student who read Tibor Fischer’s Under the Frog (1992) every single autumn. It was, she said, part of  her annual ritual, and I wasn’t that surprised. A crazy tale of a basketball team in post-war Stalinist

Robin Ashenden
Robin Ashenden
Books
Bernard Rose's Forgotten Tolstoy Trilogy

Bernard Rose's Forgotten Tolstoy Trilogy

Much has been made in the press of surging sales during lockdown of “bucket list” classics such as Anna Karenina and War and Peace. One Brooklyn journal, A Public Space, has started a group called “Tolstoy Together” so that readers can urge each other on through his doorstep

Robin Ashenden
Robin Ashenden
Bernard Rose
George Faludy: Hungarian Poet and Hero for Our Times

George Faludy: Hungarian Poet and Hero for Our Times

Had the poet George Faludy not written in his native Hungarian—arguably the most impenetrable of European languages—he would, as many have argued, be world famous. He died aged 95 in 2006, his life spanning the First and Second World Wars, the Russian revolution, and the Nazi and communist

Robin Ashenden
Robin Ashenden
book review