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Every city contains secret places Moscow in the tumultuous 1990s is no different its citizens seeking safety in a world below the streets a dark cavernous world of magic weeping trees and albino jackdaws where exiled pagan deities and faery tale creatures w. I really want to talk about crack babies to talk about how I feel about this book That s what I m thinking about Mariel they are born into a disrupted world and missing a chemicalspiritualwhatever balance and then I think crack babies cause my attention span is shot and I m a half thought kinda person on good days I d take a picture of my mind map and the connect the dots if I could They show a picture of a dog s head when joined Because that s what my mind thinks of when it thinks of Russia I ve collected images of Russia that are probably not normal One of them is The Golden Girls dream seuence of the girls visiting the country in Soviet era My mind was at odds with what I was reading and what I wanted to read about Like I had ideas and feelings under the surface and then none of them happened My heart was in the wrong place It s not good to read a book that is all over in what it wants to say when you re mind is already all over the place I m gonna blame Sedia anyway cause she could have written something better than a tolerable urban fantasy All of this is really with me as a reader in mind I don t know if anyone else craves fantasy about heart what ifs the emotional euivalent of sunrises and sunsets Gone today and tomorrow It is enough to SEE it relating pull on threads of history and if it were a tin can phone you d get an echo back that sounded oddly like your own shout Like hearing The Beach Boys all over elephant 6 music I don t read lots of urban fantasy because I want to know what to expect That s not the same at all Sunsets are not the sameNow I m thinking of thisThe wikipedia page for Twilight Sleep says Twilight sleep English translation of the German word D mmerschlaf12 is an amnesic condition characterized by insensibility to pain without loss of consciousness induced by an injection of morphine and scopolamine3 especially to relieve the pain of childbirth This combination induces a semi narcotic4 state which produces the experience of childbirth without pain or without the memory of pain3 The term Twilight Sleep is also sometimes used to refer to modern intravenous sedationOkay wiki also says Women who gave birth this way could not remember having their babies And the drugs had effects on the infants Bad effectsDoing the half thought thing I remembered it as ways to numb oneself to what is happening and going through in historical comas Sleeping awake and then the crack babies as all the missing health of loving family and futurePeople who are born addicted dependent troubled and existing in a world of twilight sleep Russia in the 1990s and upside down What does the world look like underground when it is not right side up This is what I WISH the book was about It became a I m Russian and I want to tell you things and I think I m saying the half life stuff too but it is really getting buried under all the talking about what I want people to know about Russia book Politics UghEkaterina Sedia surely hears my voice in her head talking to her when she writes her books She ignored me again Crack babies She had to have heard me say it was twilight sleep and being born into ghosts and not history book cliffnotes If it is the under the boot of the footnotes of history then why did they walk on in walk on parts in a travelogue Don t get me wrong My mind had no problem imagining any of it Secret History must ve been amazing in Sedia s head before she d written it She did an excorcist twist head around and faced back to the front Like the turning the tables boots who boot out the old pairs of shoes treading on everything Aristocrats Really Communists Oh my godThe fish floundering on dry land was the same damned land Bars and woods and history like I ve heard this shit so many fucking times already I groaned when the very first place they go to is a fucking bar Fish out of water stories should be about breathing I want to be in a new world to notice what is taken for granted If it is the same land it is still taken for granted Same side up Not that the Decembrists and dripping from dead dog s eyes and terrible Ivans and useful Jews and everyone being poor together isn t haunted eye look dripping dead dogs So how do the losers of life fit into history as life It s twilight sleep and waking up drugged into that history That s what I feel The directionless sad in youth are fed hope it ll all be different you ll be a PAGE in a book that can be turned and felt and smelt the real kind of books that have their own smells once you get out of town and get to college Underground Torn from one and stitched together and it s a magnificent all new uilt Nuh uhI thought Sedia was gonna listen In the beginning Galina is afraid I felt at home in Moscow with her for the ripped into the world maladjustedness of that fear Staring into dark subways and dreaming there s Finding treasures like stairwells and broken glass six year old me thought nothing was beautiful than broken green glass in to save for building what looks like it doesn t belong there and should be somewhere magical Galina turning her fear of insanity into a comfort blanket to dismiss all the unknown sacrificing freedom and chances for that safety I almost felt I saw Moscow through HER eyes That was until the lessons started inDoes it ever seem like fantasy and sci fi is naturally technophobic I couldn t name one that isn t It s the phobic part that s important The dark fantasy in imagining the worst that can happen Odds with the world phobic Worldophobia Afraid of everyone A man walks into a bar That s the punchlineI was thinking about twilight sleep before page 107 One line and it might have been throwaway chances are high It was like the sleep paralysis he used to get as a child a feeling of utter helplessness and despair and it felt like it was his fault The he is Yakov the police detective Yakov is as boring as I now expect all police characters in urban fantasy to be That s a lot of boringNow wake up There s no Secret History It s what you can t live with Why couldn t that have been the story It sucks that Sedia is Mariel deaf because she gets the sick fantasy feeling of walking with your head down and keeping distances as a way to see the Peter Pan shadows and secret histories It s probably wrong though Like how there aren t dinner parties waiting in the sky for teenaged misfits it isn t magic to feel that alone in your bedroom parties are all there is Maybe I am annoyed because the reason behind the Muscavites turning into birds crows crows crows wasn t that interesting after all But birds And Russia Why wasn t this great Sorry I don t mean to crow Okay I m reluctant to mention this next part because most other reviews already do Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman Gaiman uotes that Sedia does for Moscow what he hoped his book did for London I m also reluctant to mention this cause I already did my bit about Mieville s Un Lun Dun looking like a girl at the prom wearing the same dress as another prom attendee Originality is overrated The world is the same or less for a lot of people That doesn t mean anything that happens there is Like the Russian folklore was influenced and borrowed from multiple sources Why not It makes sense Natural even That s how stories live I already did my bit about Gaiman coming up with the same idea as Dianna Wynne Jones for another book Stop ripping off other reviewers Mariel God you are so unoriginal Like everyone else already mentioned Neil Gaiman s Neverwhere Neverwhere was good It wasn t perfect either What happens to people who fall through the cracks I will probably never tire of those kinds of stories If they could surprise me Give me what I didn t know I wanted Why does anyone stare into dark abysses and wonder about the other side How does anyone sleep and not feel paralyzed And what about the land that the fish suirms on Does it change the fish Does the fish change it I am probably a jerk expecting what is probably meant to be a typical urban fantasy shows me for reading one that mentions a detective in the plot blurb to care about interesting enough sounding plot and setting But c mon you author guys listen to me The ending was a wallow depressing as shit I don t know about you Sedia You re good but seem to miss the point of your own stories We watch to go on living not to give up for the future The Hall of Presidents is the worst Disney ride for a reason I still think history matters for crack baby reasons

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The Secret History of Moscow

A policeman investigating a rash of recent disappearances Their search will take them to the underground realm of hidden truths and archetypes to find themselves caught between reality and myth past and present honor and betrayal the secret history of Mosc. I really wanted to like this but I just couldn t do it The concept sounded fascinating people turning into jackdaws a hidden mythological underground Russian folklore but it was such a pain to read Galina was obnoxious and there wasn t enough to the other characters to give them anything And she can t write dialogue This was probably some of the worst dialogue I ve read in a while The prose and the descriptions of what people felt was okay but the dialogue and even action seuences were awful The stories actually were probably about the only good part I liked Sovin s the bestThe other problem was it moved too slow and too fast at the same time You spend the first 23 of the book learning the stories of the characters and the people underground while supposedly they re on a uest to find out why people have been turning into birds and then finally the last 13 dashes through that without any real explanation of WHY Okay so it s the thugs and it s Likho and Zlyden but Sedia never gives a good reason WHY they re doing this What do the thugs have to gain What do the demons have to gain What s the point And I don t really see how this all is reflective of Moscow and the period of glasnost Was this supposed to be a parable And if so how and whereAnd why

Ekaterina Sedia ô 2 Summary

Hisper strange tales to those who would listen Galina is a young woman caught like her contemporaries in the seeming lawlessness of the new Russia In the midst of this chaos her sister Masha turns into a jackdaw and flies away prompting Galina to join Yakov. The Secret History of Moscow reads like a fusion of Neil Gaiman s Neverwhere and American Gods only set in Moscow and populated by Slavic deitiesOn the one hand I can t say that I m much enamoured by any of our protagonists which is not to say that they are not good characters They are in fact rather well written individuals with layers of personality and lots of spirit I just happen not to like any of them As always I ve fallen for the minor league players It s doubly fascinating when Sedia writes for them their own mini biographies What is interesting than hearing about other peoples lives provided that they lived something worth listening toMoscow itself is that rather well used picture of a grey and used city Its citizens seem to live on the edge or barely live at all remembering either the glorious past or the bleakness of the present It s something that s rather typical in Russian literature from Tolstoy and Chekhov to Lukyanenko and his compatriots It would be interesting for once and very out of the norm to read something about Russia that lacked the shadow of sadness evident in so much of its literatureI hover between a 3 and a 4 for this and finally decided to round up due to my sunny disposition They should really through out some half stars

10 thoughts on “The Secret History of Moscow

  1. says:

    The Secret History of Moscow is judging by the wide range of reviews the literary euivalent of an optical illusio

  2. says:

    I really want to talk about crack babies to talk about how I feel about this book That's what I'm thinking about Mariel they are born into a disrupted world and missing a chemicalspiritualwhatever balance and then I think c

  3. says:

    I don’t know a lot about Moscow or even Russia in general If I had free time I would devote some of it to feeling guilty for this gap in my knowledge Some day I might even get around to rectifying it by reading some informative books on the subject rather than fantasy which I’m given to understand is not always 100% factual

  4. says:

    The Secret History of Moscow reads like a fusion of Neil Gaiman's Neverwhere and American Gods only set in Moscow

  5. says:

    It does help to have either a knowledge of Russian Fairy Tales or a source to look them up in when reading this bookThat

  6. says:

    25When I saw the reviews for this book I saw it discussed as a mixture of Neverwhere and American Gods two books I love from Neil Gaiman And while the comparison is a fair one when it comes to the premise of the s

  7. says:

    I really wanted to like this but I just couldn't do it The concept sounded fascinating people turning into jackdaws a hidden mythological underground Russian folklore but it was such a pain to read Galina was obnoxious and there wasn't enough to the other characters to give them anything And she can't write dialogue This was probab

  8. says:

    DNF 30%Read on May 05 2015Not my cup of tea I am a huge fan of Slavic Myths and legends but this book was slightly too dark and depressing I expected magic wonder of a fairy tale feel to it Why cruel World? Why?

  9. says:

    The Secret History of MoscowEkaterina SediaPrime BooksKat Sedia's new book it came out sometime in 2007 but my reading schedule is slow as molasses The Secret History of Moscow is an intriguing novel about set in both the normal world of Moscow in the 1990s and in the strange underworld beneath it where both mythical figures from M

  10. says:

    I loved it I'm even tempted to rate it closer to a 910 Probably it was easier for me a native of Eastern Europe to relate with the slavic mythological characters and with the post communist social commentary and this familiarity probably made me rate it higher than if this were set in a western capitalist metropolis Anyway I find the style of Sedia very appealing to my tastes after Secret History and Alchemy of Stone and I will be lookin

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