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In Steinhauer's 'almost brilliant' conclusion to his Yalta Boulevard Sequence(Bridge of Sighs, The Confession, 36 Yalta Boulevard, Liberation Movements, & Victory Square), Steinhauer examines the collapse of the moral and social order (both for a nation and individuals) when a former Eastern Block nation finally rejects its totalitarian regime and leader. 'Victory Square' is stronger and more graceful in its first half, but still manages to close out the series well.
Taken together, the five Yalta Boulevard novels are brilliant in their ability to communicate the narrative arc of East European totalitarianism in both the brutality, but also in the humanity of those individuals seeking to support and destroy its order. If you are going to read one of these novels, invest the time to read them all. While I could arm-chair quarterback my little issues with each novel, the series is definitely worth it. For me, it was similar to how I felt watching the entire HBO series 'the Wire'.
Each Yalta Blvd novel gave a unique perspective that together painted an amazing picture of a place, time and people. Even Steinhauer's conceit of using a fake country seems, in the end, to have been well played. It allowed his novels to grab interesting pieces of Hungarian, Romanian, Yugoslavian history and blend as needed. It is amazing how much good fiction can teach us.
14 of 14 people found this review helpful
This is the best book in the series but you should read them all, first to last, to have this one make complete sense. When I started the series I thought they might be boring, drab anyway, but that it would show me how miserable life must have been in a Soviet bloc country. The lives depicted were pretty drab and miseerable but Steinhauer does a good job of weaving a story into the lives of the characters. It seems to me the governements of these countries have done a terrible job of helping their people, no only during socialism, communicsm, whatever you want to call it but for basically the last 100 years. In the end these people had the same hopes and dreams we all have, they all want a better life and the opportutnity to live their lives they way they want to. I know this ends the series but it would be interesting to see a cotinuation for the next two decades as well. I'm now offially a fan of Olen Stinhaer, I look forwrd to more tales from him.
5 of 6 people found this review helpful