Black Earth City by Charlotte Hobson
When Russia Ran Wild (and So Did We)

No critic rating

Waiting for minimum critic reviews

See 1 Critic Review



A young woman's heady encounter with the new Russia, as she and the country thrill to their first taste of freedom

It is September 1991 and the dismantling of the Soviet Union is under way. In Voronezh, a provincial town famous for its loamy black earth, a sense of lightheartedness-part fear, part exhilaration-pervades. The people conquer uncertainty, hunger, and -20 degree temperatures by drinking huge quantities of black-market vodka and reveling in their new-found sexual freedom.

Black Earth City is Charlotte Hobson's record of this tumultuous time. An irresistible guide, she brings us into the cramped, rundown Hostel no. 4, where international students and locals congregate. We meet Yakov, who blows half-a-million rubles on a taxi to see a girl in Minsk; Lola, who sleeps with her peers for a share of their dinner; Viktor, with his brutal memories of military service; and Mitya, Hobson's wild and optimistic lover whose gradual disillusion-and dissolution-mirrors his country's dramatic lurch from euphoria to despair.

At once loving and sharp-edged, tender and brave, Black Earth City reveals a world and a woman as they open up to life.


About Charlotte Hobson

See more books from this Author
Charlotte Hobson spent much of the nineties living and working in Russia. She now lives in Cornwall, England, and divides her time between translating and working on her first novel.
Published March 1, 2003 by Metropolitan Books. 167 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History, Travel. Non-fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Black Earth City

Kirkus Reviews

See more reviews from this publication

She lived in a seedy hostel where, she writes, “A hubble of languages rose through the smoke and pungent smells of ten dinners cooking in one kitchen.” Hobson uses a swift and accurate brush to paint the portraits of her friends and acquaintances, and despite this brief volume still finds room fo...

| Read Full Review of Black Earth City: When Russia...

Rate this book!

Add Review