We won’t get fooled again
The Porcupine
in Julian Barnes
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The Porcupine (1992) is a spotlight on a post-Soviet satellite country that Euro-American press coverage had little touched. It is the political fable of liberalism's lack of conviction before ideological certainty, set in an East European country moving from communism to liberal democracy, and is informed far more by Bulgarian history than by that of any other country. Its human story centres on the overthrown Party leader Stoyo Petkanov, who is brought to trial for prosecution by the ambitious and aggrieved Peter Solinsky. Barnes became interested by Bulgarian politics on a book tour and enlisted the support of local people to help him research and situate the novella. In brief, Bulgaria was a Balkan country of about eight and a half million people under control of the USSR at the end of the 1980s.


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