The Porcupine

In his latest novel, Julian Barnes, author of Talking It Over and A History of the World in 10 1/2 Chapters , trains his laser-bright prose on the collapse of Communism in Eastern Europe. Stoyo Petkanov, the deposed Party leader, is placed on trial for crimes that range from corruption to political murder. Petkanov's guilt -- and the righteousness of his opponents -- would seem to be self-evident. But, as brilliantly imagined by Barnes, the trial of this cunning and unrepentant dictator illuminates the shadowy frontier between the rusted myths of the Communist past and a capitalist future in which everything is up for grabs. From the Trade Paperback edition.

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By Andrew (London, London, The United Kingdom) · ★★★★☆ · August 05, 2010
What I liked about this book was the complexity of its characters. It tells the story of a former Communist dictator being put on trial by the new democratic government. In another author's hands, it could have been unbearable. The Cold War is often viewed in simplistic terms: we won, they lost,... ...more
By Sanja (Novi Sad, Serbia) · ★★★★☆ · October 20, 2014
Ima tih knjiga koje su dosadne ali su dobro napisane, pa ih ne možeš odbaciti. E, pa, Bodljikavo prase nije dosadno (ok, jeste na momente) ali sama tema (post socijalističko društvo i suđenje bivšem predsedniku) mi nije naročito privlačna. Međutim, Barns je užasno dobar pisac. I Paunović je isto... ...more
By Kris (Hobart, 07, Australia) · ★★★★☆ · April 25, 2012
The Porcupine is a novel by Englishman Julian Barnes that was originally published in Bulgarian [ Бодливо свинче]. This should give us a very strong clue as to the identity of which post-communist country the story takes place.

The novel concerns the trial of the former communist leader of Bulgari... ...more
By Paul (Columbus, OH) · ★★★☆☆ · September 13, 2008
Barnes sets this novel in an anonymous post-communist country about a year after the overthrow of the Party, just as the nation must make the decision of what to do with the man who served as Party Chairman (dictator) for over 30 years. The protagonists are the prosecutor of the case and the dict... ...more
By Charlie · ★★★★☆ · March 02, 2014
An appropriate book to be reading during the current crisis in the Ukraine. Excellent. ...more
By Mark (London, The United Kingdom) · ★★★★☆ · December 04, 2014
I'm someone who doesn't see the world as simple black and white. There are shades of good and evil, and you can play all the what-if scenarios you like with history but you'll never know what course a country would take under a different leadership style.

This novel was written after the fall of t... ...more
By Simon (Brussels, Belgium) · ★★★★☆ · March 24, 2009
Short, sharp, biting, strong characterisation, astute political observation, telling details. As in all good satire, everyone gets it in the neck, not just the obvious "bad guy". Which makes it all the more puzzling that another reviewer disliked the "moral ambiguity" - surely that's the whole po... ...more
By Mariejeanne (Aalst, Belgium) · ★★★☆☆ · July 03, 2014
Het Stekelvarken" - Julian Barnes. Vertaling van het Engelse boek :"The Porcupine"
Geen gemakkelijk verhaal. Twee hoofdpersonen komen tegenover elkaar te staan. Stojo Petkanov,
leider van voormalig Sovjetstaat, tegenover Procureur Generaal , nl Peter Solinski, vroeger partijlid.
De oude leider hou... ...more
By Girish (Chennai, 25, India) · ★★★☆☆ · May 10, 2014
An unconventional book by Julian Barnes that has handled the 'victory' of capitalism over socialism and communism from the other side. Not a light read, but the book true to it's name might sting at the fundamentals of the ideologies.

The last dictator of a communist country is up for trial in th... ...more
By Stephen (York, The United Kingdom) · ★★★★☆ · November 26, 2014
The last Eastern European Communist dictator standing, Stoyo Petkanov, is arrested and subjected to a show trial (Criminal Law Case Number 1). The Prosecutor General, Peter Solinsky, is an ex-party member with a cause.

Following a so-so domestic novel of telling and not showing (Talking it Over),... ...more