Black Earth City
Richly observed, this witty and yet deeply moving tale of Charlotte Hobson's year travelling around Russia takes us to the heart of a country that we are continually interested in, yet can struggle to understand. As the TLS put it, Hobson writes with 'such a beguiling directness that it is hard not to feel intimate with her and her characters. Few books evoke so much of Russian life, with so little effort.'
'Each chapter is a bonne bouche, possessing its own particular flavour, from sweet to acrid-bitter. Hobson's characters are often wonderfully quixotic and so is the spirit she finds everywhere at this crux in Russia's history. She drinks with derelicts, hangs out with gypsies, and watches investigators go about the grim business of exhuming purge victims, and giving them the Christian burial they have been denied for seventy years. Her style is deft: she manages to render the scenes through which she passes with needle-sharp precision.' Financial Times