Under Communism People Felt They Had No Control Over Their Lives

(p. C4) “When people have to talk about Communism,” they tend to employ passive, impersonal constructions, as if they “had no influence on anything and were unwilling to take personal responsibility,” he notes in one typically observant passage. “Thus, in a situation where someone ought to say: ‘I was afraid to talk about it,’ ‘I hadn’t the courage to ask about it,’ or ‘I had no idea about it,’ they say: ‘There was no talk about it.’ ‘Nothing was known about it.’ ‘That wasn’t asked about.’ “

For the full review, see:
LARRY ROHTER. “Understanding the Land Where ‘Kafkaesque’ Was Born.” The New York Times (Mon., June 23, 2014): C4.
(Note: the online version of the review has the date June 22, 2014.)

The book being reviewed is:
Szczygiel, Mariusz. Gottland: Mostly True Stories from Half of Czechoslovakia. Translated by Antonia Lloyd-Jones. Brooklyn, NY: Melville House, 2014.

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