Writing Postcommunism

David Williams: Writing Postcommunism: Towards a Literature of the East European Ruins. London: Palgrave Macmillan, 2013

Moving through the elegiac ruins of the Berlin Wall and the Yugoslav disintegration, Writing Postcommunism explores literary evocations of the pervasive disappointment and mourning that have marked the postcommunist twilight. With particular reference to the writings of Croatian émigré Dubravka Ugrešić, and those of Milan Kundera, Clemens Meyer, Ingo Schulze, Jáchym Topol, Christa Wolf, and others, it is argued that a significant body of postcommunist literature is underpinned and scarred by the semantic field of ruins: melancholia and nostalgia, presence and absence, pride and shame, and not least, remembering and forgetting. Taken together, the writings considered suggest a post-1989 'literature of the ruins', an amorphous, anti-formative framework that also dramatically illuminates the post-1989 ruins of east European literature itself - what remains when, as György Konrád put it, 'something is over'. (Verlagstext)