Download books The People's Act of LoveAuthor James Meek –

Set In A Time Of Great Social Upheaval, Warfare, And Terrorism, And Against A Stark, Lawless Siberia At The End Of The Russian Revolution, The People S Act Of Love Portrays The Fragile Coexistence Of A Beautiful, Independent Mother Raising Her Son Alone, A Megalomaniac Czech Captain And His Restless Regiment, And A Mystical Separatist Christian Sect When A Mysterious, Charismatic Stranger Trudges Into Their Snowy Village With A Frighteningly Outlandish Story To Tell, Its Balance Is Shaken To The Core

10 thoughts on “The People's Act of Love

  1. says:

    Poor Anna Petrovna, surrounded by megalomaniac and generally delusional men Ain t it the truth THANK YOU, MR MEEK That s not what this book is about In Siberia in 1919, a forgotten Czech troop holds the town of Yaszyk The town is mainly populated by an extreme sect of castrate Christians It s about history, revolution, Russia It s about ideals, cold and rational, brushing up against natural, warm blooded reality And it s about love What is love What are its boundaries What would you do for it Another question running through my mind while reading What is the worth of human life Are some dispensable for the greater good Of course not We re not terrorists or suicide bombers Yet we send soldiers off to wars Though set as historic fiction, The People s Act of Love is pertinent today I really wished for someone to talk about it with as I was reading Unfortunately my book club couldn t get past the cannibalism Supposing a man, the cannibal, knew that the fate of the world rested on whether he escaped from prison or not Suppose this He s a man so dedicated to the happiness of the future world that he sets himself up to destroy all the corrupt and cruel functionaries he can, and break the offices they fester in, till he s destroyed himself Suppose he s realized that politics, even revolution, is too gentle, it only shuffles people and offices a little It isn t that he sees the whole ugly torturing tribe of bureaucrats and aristocrats and money grubbers who make the people suffer It s that they fall to him and his kind like a town falls to a mudslide He s not a destroyer, he is destruction, leaving those good people who remain to build a better world on the ruins To say he s the embodiment of the will of the people is feeble, a joke, as if they elected him He is the will of the people He s the hundred thousand curses they utter every day against their enslavement, To hold such a man to the same standards as ordinary men would be strange, like putting wolves on trial for killing elk, or trying to shoot the wind You can pity the innocent man he butchers, if he is innocent But the fact the food comes in the form of a man is accidental damage It s without malice What looks like an act of evil to a single person is the people s act of love to its future self Even to call him a cannibal is mistaken He s the storm the people summoned, against which not all good people find shelter in time Your imaginary cannibal sounds terribly vain Karen sent this to me Karen s the sauce.

  2. says:

    And what was the point of this All the glowing reviews, adulatory comments for a book that started quite well and then just meandered away into the Russian wilderness Frustrating enough for me to write the following on The Fool When I was younger, and not a wage earner, I used to dream about having my own library instead of having to rely on the public ones Never again would I have to search or reserve the latest works of my favourite authors, because I d simply buy them and read when I was in the mood rather than when a chance find allowed me to.Work, and the advent of 3 for 2 s in Borders, Waterstone s, Asda et al has now afforded this opportunity, and I m learning once to be careful of what I wish for As my shelves groan with books that have caught my interest at some point, they scream Read me, read me whenever I become bogged down or bored with whatever I m currently going through Over Christmas, I managed 200 pages of The People s Act of Love before I thought, You know what, I couldn t give a sh t about this plot, these characters and how it all works out Not while I quite fancy The Mission Song , sitting new and pristine on the shelf What a bloody waste of time, driven by the fact I d paid 7.99 for it and was quite determined to see it through If I d borrowed it from the library, it would have fallen at my old 60 page rule, where if a book hadn t grabbed me by page sixty there was no point in continuing Sometimes, like Neil Diamond, I miss the hungry years.

  3. says:

    Story set in a Siberian town at the end of the First World War but in the midst of the Red White struggle for Russia The inhabitants of the town are mainly members of a castration and whirling sect who have castrated themselves so as to remove their lustful impulses and use whirling to enter a transcendental state A woman living in the town Anna Petrovna is supposedly the widow of a Hussar but in fact it emerges that her husband Balashov escaped from soldiery and is the leader of the castrates.The town is occupied by a division of the Czech Legion, whose sadistic and insane captain Matula is ignoring instructions for them to return to their newly liberated country after the break up of the Austro Hungarian empire via the US as he prefers running his own military dictatorship in as the book says in one of its excellent images the grey zone between war and peace Their Lieutenant Mutz is in some ways the normal character in the book still disorientated by the loss of the Empire, but keen to return his men to Czechoslovakia and to escape what he knows will be a massacre by the Communists who have particularly targeted the Legion for their role in an atrocity in the war The balance of the town is disturbed by the appearance of a charismatic and powerful stranger Samarin Initially he is suspected of killing the town s Shaman who has a third eye and an albino assistant like him from an Eskimo type tribe but he tells a story of being a political prisoner who has escaped from a terrible prison camp together with a murderer the Mohican who had actually taken Samarin along with him as walking food a so called cow Both Anna and some of the politically aware soldiers fall under his spell as the Reds close in.The main and explicit theme of the book is the love its variety and the dreadful lengths people are prepared to go to in its name particularly the love of ideals both secular and religious Once past the confusing early chapters the book is very readable The book captures something of the Russian epics especially Dostoevsky, and at times even reads like a book translated from the Russian The imagery and phrases used are at times excellent and evocative and the bizarre parts of the story are essentially factual Ultimately however there is a small sense of a missed opportunity here including some anachronistic and clumsy passages and a rather feeble end to the narrative.Postscript I recommended this book to my Book Group based on advice from Paul who has rated this 5 10 years later, the same group refuses to read any book if I mention that Paul liked it.

  4. says:

    I was a bit disappointed after finishing The People s Act of Love Don t get me wrong, this is certainly a book worth reading Meek knows his Russian Lit In particular Dostoevsky Structurally the novel hurtles along like all great Dostoevsky novels from one revelation to another, with occasional stock gathering, as a character stops to offer up some existential musing or another All the characters are Dostoevsky weird, and some of the dramatic set pieces are first rate My favorite moment was probably when we first meet the mad Czech Captain Matula, at a meal where cocaine, sex, and sable killing goes on Whoa The demonic and just as crazy Samarin is also good character, but he would have been better with a few less speeches and his heart of gold moment Balashov, the castrate, ditto Less so is Anna Petrovna, the love interest for some of the men in this strange community And so on The echoes for me are clear, but they also seem studied The novel does hold up well until about the last hundred pages or so, and then Meek lets his grip slip The absurdist aspects of this story takeover and yes, I know Karamozov was meant to be a comedy, but not a slapstick one , and characters flatten out, losing some of their depth One character s batting of grenades, or Anna s conversation with a Cossack Communist at the end, illustrate this I started out thinking The Devils, and ended up thinking Castle Keep Both are good well great and good , but the tone is different for each, with Dostoevsky always playing for the higher stakes Why There s a God in his universe In The People s Act of Love, the universe is simply a place of growing extremes, which in the end devour themselves though in the case of Samarin, Meek blinks Dostoevsky certainly didn t with Stavrogin And that is the difference Dostoevsky, however dark, has his center, Meek sees none, which is fine, but if you re going to play in Fedor s sand box, you can t be surprised when people see you ve left out the sand There are, as the character Lt Mutz puts it, inconsistancies in this story.

  5. says:

    Here s how I picture the kind of person who d enjoy this book cranky as hell probably has scale model trains in basement has a proud collection of hardcover books about 20th century wars published in 1960 dust jackets thereof ripped from overuse condescendingly rolls eyes when you get a minor historical fact wrong in conversation hates cocktail parties is THAT GUY at cocktail parties drinks vodka straight at cocktail parties because that s how the Russians did it during the war mildly sexist bemoans progress bemoans the lack of a modern Dostoevsky or Tolstoy but loves Quentin Tarantino and Band of Brothers and other really boring violent shit that takes forever to get where it s going and never really gets thereNot to stereotype I m just saying.I kept flipping back to the praise at the front of this book with an unattractive look of disbelief you know the one lip curled, eyebrow raised, brow wrinkled Irvine Welsh Philip Pullman Fifteen newspapers journals Did you guys all read the same book as I did Nothing happens Barely anything is interesting, even the moral questions that may or may not be the center of the novel The prose is clumsy artificial The characters are barely sketches and the predictable plot dragggsssss I suppose it gets points for historical accuracy, but I don t even know Not a great way to finish 2014, but at least I m not a religious nut in fucking Siberia, so.

  6. says:

    WOW what a strange novel this is This beautiful piece of historical fiction written in the best spirit of Russian classics is set in the coldest, isolated part of Siberia during the Russian Revolution Place where common rules can t be applied or can easily be neglected and therefore perfect whatever that means place to test your humane values and scruples.I ve read somewhere one comment about the books as if Anna Karenina meets Silence of the Lambs and that s pretty much true with the difference that somehow you feel oddly sympathetic with Hannibal Lecter probably because he is breathtakingly convincing and therefore much scary His mission is so pure that you re finding yourself how you almost ignoring the methods through his words it sounds perfectly right he s a man so dedicated to the happiness of the future world that he sets himself to destroy all the corrupt and cruel functionaries he can till he s destroyed himself He s not a destroyer, he is destruction to hold such a man to the same standards as ordinary man would be strange, like putting wolves on a trial for killing an elk, or trying to shoot the wind And indeed you simply can t apply the same standard not only to that specific character but as I said above to the whole place where the novel is set in Because just imagine the question like this under what circumstances is eating another human being justifiable Is there an answer on that question at all OK maybe if you think now about that horrible true story about plane crash in South American Andes where survivors had to eat pieces of their friends who didn t survive the crash to stay alive I should reformulate question under what circumstances is killing and then eating another human being justifiable.Other question that emerges is How far are you ready to go in dedication yourself to the God and I assure you, if I tell you the answer you wouldn t believe So, the story is set in the middle of Siberia in the village of Yazyk and the characters is one the most impossible group of people marooned legion of Czechoslovak troops the members of the strangest Christian sect I ve ever heard about a shaman with spiritual third eye on his forehead a strange widow and her son an escapee from an Arctic gulag and of course the man who is not destroyer but destruction itself.Story about first two groups Czechs and Christian sect skoptsy is based on historical facts The year is 1919 and maybe it would be nice to explain historical background of the story but I should stress that novel is NOT about this A turning point in the history of the Russian civil war was the rebellion of the Czech troops, surely one of its most curious episodes The Habsburg monarchy, Russia s enemy in the First World War, was like imperial Russia, a multinational empire The large Slav minority within it felt oppressed, and at the time of the war showed little loyalty to the Habsburgs A large number of Czech soldiers, for example, easily allowed themselves to be captured by the Russians The tsarist government hesitated to play the nationality card They refused to form an army from these prisoners of war and allow them to fight on their side That situation changed in 1917 Czechs formed an independent corps and fight the Germans The Czechs were enthusiastic soldiers, for they rightly believed that only the defeat of the central powers, Germany and the Austro Hungarian monarchy, would allow them to form an independent state When the Russian army fell apart, this tiny force alone wanted to continue fighting, but the Brest Litovsk treaty made it impossible for them to continue their struggle After long negotiations with the Soviet government, it was decided to allow them to travel to the Western front through Siberia, the Pacific, and the United States The Czechs, however, never reached their destination, because while traveling through Siberia they started to fight the Bolsheviks.And this is where when the novel is set In one Siberian village full of Czech soldiers on their way to Pacific but trapped by the Bolsheviks and their crazy cheef.This novel is extremely thought provoking with such incredible twists Truth, the start is little confusing and slow with introduction to the characters it s kind of little stories about them which will be joined in one story and then the book becomes un put down able Honestly I can t remember when was the last time I was so surprised with how the story goes in the book It s amazingly unpredictable with turns that leave you speechless And in the end everything is about love, about many kinds of love and sometimes in quite weird way it s very hard to write about the novel and avoid the spoilers and I m aiming to avoid them I know I would be furious if I have found something that could spoil this great reading adventure So here is little advice Do not read comments on , they are full of spoilers I ve read them after I finished with the book This book is definitively not for everyone but it was very enjoyable read for me It s not an easy read and as one of mine BXing friend said nor one that is easily forgettable.Probably you ll get the best image of what can you expect from this novel, from this quote Did you hear the story about the monk who arrived in a mall town in Poland one time, rang the bell in the marketplace, gathered all citizens and told them that he had come to warn them of a terrible plague which would soon afflict them Somebody asked him who was carrying the plague The monk said I am

  7. says:

    And, The End Justifies The Means , 17 Jan 2006 He s not a destroyer he is destruction, leaving these good people who remain to build a better world on the ruins What looks like an act of evil to a single person is the people s act of love to its future itself Samarin pretending to speak of another, but really speaking of himself.James Meek has written a marvelous story telling in this novel At once so well written you would think he was writing in Russia of 1920 This is the time of the Russian Revolution in 1917 So many characters woven into effortless story lines that the stories themselves somehow seem to grab our attention The characters are revealed to a central figure and we are able to at last understand the drama and the truth James Meek attended Edinburgh University and has become a journalist for the Guardian and the Observer reporting from Russia for ten years He has been able with his words to show us the sights and scenes of Siberia horror, cruelty, murder and cannibalism And, yet the sun shining on the snow, the love of a man and a woman the everyday life of those who live the best they can Samarin, one of the main characters shows up in tiny, poor Yazyk, a Siberian community His story is that of a political prisoner, a run away from a horrible place in the Arctic He has escaped with Mohican a man who took him with him, to eat his flesh James Meek has been able to write of the horror of slicing off a foot, a head and hacking people to pieces to eat their flesh Samarin s story is slowly unraveled but not before we meet the other characters An extreme Christian sect that castrates its members so they can be called angels A group of Czechoslovakian legions led by Lieutenant Mutz, he loves the earth and a woman, Anna Petrovna She is the wife of the leader of the Christian sect, Balashov Anna is a woman who loves men and sex, photography and her son All these characters and who are puzzled about many events They learn as we do, when the puzzle begins to fit, the meaning of the extremes of the political and the spiritual and the humanity There are heroes and there is goodness, and this is a particularly special book.Highly recommended prisrob

  8. says:

    This was an amazing book once you got into it This book is totally worth it but the begining chapters are very confusing boring However, becuase of this when everything came together it made it that much exciting This book is about several different characters who throughout the book realize who they are, who they love and the meaning of life This book sounds a little mushy but its not The author is very real which makes the book easy to relate to I would suggest that everyone read this book.

  9. says:

    Awesome, awesome, awesome As the jacket describes it, The People s Act of Love is as rich as a classic Russian novel, but packs all that story and philosophy and beauty into under 400 pages Even as I was hurtling toward the end, I found myself turning to previous chapters to reread passages, both to savor the language and to find clues to the many unfolding mysteries Read it

  10. says:

    What you expect from Russian classics but lose in the translation.