Reviews of Red Square Blues
Published in 2009 by HarperCollins
'an entertaining, engrossing and occasionally horrifying tale of a country lurching from repressive totalitarianism to virtual anarchy and on to an uneasy mix of the two.'
Sunday Age – Review of the Week
'This is a marvellous read.'
* * * * * (Outstanding)
Daniel O'Brien, Good Reading Magazine
'Red Square Blues paints a truer picture of modern Russian life than any conventional history. Kim lived with ordinary Russians at a time when their history went into overdrive, from the mutual poverty of the last years of the Soviet Union, to the vicious race for money and resources that followed.'
Richard Fidler, Host of Conversation Hour, ABC radio
'The book has a Seven Up quality to it, as Traill watches her friends adjust to the last days of the Soviet empire and succeeding ages of Yeltsin and Putin. Rich in detail and unpretentiously written, Red Square Blues is absorbing and at times hair-raising.'
Owen Richardson, Saturday Age
'...an absorbing and well-documented social history that exposers the horror and tragedy of nuclear disaster, war, racism, prostitution, and drug and alcohol abuse in a country as awesome as it is shocking.'
Marianna Papadakis, The Sun Herald, December 27 2009
Kim's achievement in this book is to weave together almost seamlessly a dozen or more different portraits of the lives of her mates, with the seismic historical shifts which changed the world in so many ways. The result is depth, along with true feeling. It is not just her eyes which are open. It is also her mind and her heart. She’s an accepting, tolerant human being who is utterly greedy for human insight. And she’s prepared to accept people for who they are.
She absorbed every odd experience and tried to rationalise it with her Australian mind. And when it didn’t make sense (and it invariably doesn’t in Russia), she shrugged her shoulders and refused to judge. Having seen lots of Westerners go in and scurry out in fright, confusion and fury, it is always breathtaking to happen upon a “Kim Traill”, who will accept and work with whatever comes her way.
Her other great achievement is that she has found something new to say. Her portraits are so alive that each story has some new light to cast on what happened in Russia both before and after communism went by the wayside. It is really a talent to be able to nail down a history which others have already raked over remorselessly, but overlay it with personal experience and emotion, and add to that beautiful prose.
Monica Attard OAM, Host of Sunday Profile, ABC Radio National