“…for me, Tales of the Metric System is by far his most accomplished. It is definitely one of the most profound fictional takes on South Africa’s transition from the horrors of the apartheid era to the uncertainties of the present. Spanning four decades between 1970 and 2010, the novel captures the spirit of all crucial historic moments of the period by focusing on the lives of a few people, real and imagined, whose stories are intricately interlinked.”
In this enthralling but heart-breaking book the historian and journalist Oliver Bullough tries to find answers to a fundamental question about Russia: Why does a people turn to vodka for solace and what consequences does mass alcoholism have for a country? Bullough travels through Russia in the footsteps of Father Dmitry Dudko to trace how a fearless priest, who had brought hope and unity to his people, succumbed to the KGB. He exposes the ruthless finesse of the KGB’s enterprise in the former Soviet Union, the greed which has replaced ideology after the transition, and the continuing drinking problem of an entire nation. Despite inklings of optimism, it’s difficult to take heart for the future of Russia from his insightful report.
Book mark first published in the Cape Times, 25 April 2014, p. 12.