Odessa By Charles King Norton
Boyd Tonkin is Senior Writer and a columnist at The Independent. An award-winning journalist, he was formerly Literary Editor at The Independent, and before that Social Policy Editor and then Books Editor at the New Statesman magazine. He has broadcast extensively for BBC arts and current affairs programmes and has judged the Booker Prize, the Whitbread biography award, the Commonwealth Writers Prize and the David Cohen Prize. In 2001, he re-founded the Independent Foreign Fiction Prize for literature in translation, and serves on its judging panel every year.
Saturday 29 September 2012
The free-spirited port of Odessa, now uneasily located in Ukraine, was Russia's Black Sea window on the south – and a haven for exotic styles of life and art.
Founded in 1794, it fast developed a cosmopolitan identity in which outsiders – migrants, thinkers, entrepreneurs, above all Jews – could flourish. Spanning the schooldays of Trotsky and the "Little Odessa" now implanted in Brooklyn, King's history of the multicultural city captures the "everyday difficulty of being diverse" in all its excitement and danger.
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