From Fifth Estate – by Artnoose
a review of Letters of Insurgents by Sophia Nachalo and Yarostan Vocheck, as told by Fredy Perlman, with a new introduction by Aragorn!. Left Bank Books, 2014, 722pp., $20 leftbankbooks.bigcartel.com
In 1976, Fredy and Lorraine Perlman and other people at the Detroit Printing Co-op published Letters of Insurgents, which at more than 800 pages qualifies as a hefty novel. Although Perlman wrote the book, he didn’t include his name on the cover, instead attributing it to Sophia Nachalo and Yarostan Vochek, the two main characters whose letters make up the text.
The book, reprinted by Seattle’s Left Bank Books, keeps the original Black and Red cover design intact, with the exception of adding Perlman’s name. It has been out of print for several years. The cover photo montage was done by the Fifth Estate’s Millard Berry.
Sophia and Yarostan met as teens in the 1950s at a carton factory in an unnamed Eastern Bloc country. They had a brief love affair and participated in an uprising that ended in fellow workers being sent to jail.
Sophia and her family quickly emigrated, and more than twenty years later she sends the first of the letters that make up this book, only to find out in Yarostan’s reply letter that he had spent a lengthy time in prison as a result of the strike. The subsequent nine pairs of exchanged letters unfold the mystery surrounding the pair’s divergent fates after the strike as well as their current lives in revolt. (more…)