I first watched Lassie
when I was very small.
It was just about a dog
so they showed it. But
we saw America. How
beautiful it was. For
some reason they let
us see everything we
These are the stories of one boy’s adolescence in the USSR.
Sovetica grew from Caroline Clark’s fascination with a handful of stereo slides made by her Russian husband in the 1980s. Her unforced retelling of his memories – recorded, translated and transformed – together with the photographs bring to the page a way of life that is both humdrum and the stuff of legend.
Afterword by David Rose
‘Through its focus on food, clothes, and domestic life, Caroline Clark’s Sovetica masterfully transforms stories from her husband’s childhood and teenage experience in late Soviet Russia into fascinating poems that take us on a behind-the-scenes journey to the last years of state socialism.’
– Alexey Golubev, author of The Things of Life: Materiality in Late Soviet Russia
‘This collection is something of a curiosity, comprising photographs of the author’s Russian husband’s adolescence in the Soviet Union together with his memories recast as poems. It’s a bold and unique undertaking, and one that provides highly personal insights into the social history of the last days of the USSR through his experiences as a child and teenager, recalled in a different era but recorded (by virtue of stereo slides from the 1980s) contemporaneously. It all makes for a fascinating and endlessly satisfying read.’
– Jeremy Page, The Frogmore Papers
‘Caroline Clark makes it so I can smell it, not least because the voice is so attractive and artless-seeming. Something universal about how we are in school, too, whether in Russia or in Rotherham: the bad haircuts (I loved the haircut poems), the jackets, the little attempts to make ourselves look cool (thin ties) … I was moved, in several directions: inwards, outwards, backwards in time and into my present.’
– Patrick McGuinness
‘I like these poems for their sharp but calm humour and precise detailing.’ – Peter Riley
Includes 20 colour and black-&-white photographs.
FRIDGE MAGNETS! For as long as stock lasts, a fridge magnet (60 x 60mm) will be sent with each order of Sovetica from this page. There are two, each showing a photograph from the book: if you want to choose which, email firstname.lastname@example.org after placing your order. (Or buy two copies and get both.)