Words Will Break Cement
The Passion of Pussy Riot
By Masha Gessen
(Riverhead Trade, Paperback, 9781594632198, 320pp.)
Publication Date: January 8, 2014
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The heroic story of Pussy Riot, who resurrected the power of truth in a society built on lies
On February 21, 2012, five young women entered the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In neon-colored dresses, tights, and balaclavas, they performed a punk prayer” beseeching the Mother of God” to get rid of Putin.” They were quickly shut down by security, and in the weeks and months that followed, three of the women were arrested and tried, and two were sentenced to a remote prison colony. But the incident captured international headlines, and footage of it went viral. People across the globe recognized not only a fierce act of political confrontation but also an inspired work of art that, in a time and place saturated with lies, found a new way to speak the truth.
Masha Gessen’s riveting account tells how such a phenomenon came about. Drawing on her exclusive, extensive access to the members of Pussy Riot and their families and associates, she reconstructs the fascinating personal journeys that transformed a group of young women into artists with a shared vision, gave them the courage and imagination to express it unforgettably, and endowed them with the strength to endure the devastating loneliness and isolation that have been the price of their triumph.
Masha Gessen is a Russian American journalist and the author, most recently, of the national bestseller The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin and Words Will Break Cement: The Passion of Pussy Riot. Her award-winning work has appeared in The New York Times, Slate, Vanity Fair, and elsewhere. A longtime resident of Moscow, Gessen now lives in New York.
According to Russian journalist Masha Gessen, the 2012 arrests were the start of a campaign by Vladimir Putin and his supporters against government critics. Gessen, who is also an LGBT rights advocate, recently moved to New York with her partner and their children in response to the anti-gay laws Russia passed in June. More at NPR.org
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