Uncertain Weights & Measures

Uncertain Weights & Measures

Book - 2017
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Winner, 2017 Quebec Writers' Federation Concordia University First Book Prize

Shortlisted, 2017 Governor General's Award for Fiction

Shortlisted, 2018 Kobo Emerging Writer Prize

Named a Favourite Book of 2017 by The National Post

Moscow, 1921. Tatiana and Sasha meet in a bookstore the night it is bombed. In the aftermath of the explosion, Sasha grabs Tatiana's hand and together they run to safety. They fall in love.

A promising young scientist, Tatiana follows her mentor, Dr. Bekhterev, to the Institut Mozga, established to study the source of genius. She thrives in the state-sponsored research institute, but Sasha, an artist, feels left behind in this new world where his art seems without place or function. A rift between them grows.

When Bekhterev suddenly dies, Tatiana is prompted to speculate about the shadowy circumstances of his death. Disconcerted and unable to find answers to her questions, she plunges into doubt -- about her work as a scientist, her naiveté about the Revolution, her faith in the state, and her relationship with Sasha.

Provocative and compelling, Uncertain Weights and Measures takes place in the heady days of post-Revolution Russia, when belief in a higher purpose was everything. Written in beautifully incisive prose, Jocelyn Parr vividly captures the ambiance of 1920s Moscow and the frisson of real-life events while also spinning a captivating tale of a love torn apart by ideology and high-stakes politics.

Publisher: Fredericton :, Goose Lane Editions,, ©2017.
ISBN: 9780864929822
Branch Call Number: FICTION PAR
Characteristics: 378 pages ; 21 cm
Alternative Title: Uncertain weights and measures


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Feb 23, 2018

I'd never really read a proper love story before, but this book has me interested in reading more of them. It's the love story part of the book I'd recommend, not so much the historical parts... although those bits in the book more than once had me turning to wikipedia to read up on historical figures and locales featured in the book out of piqued interest.

The best parts of this book are the interactions between the well-crafted fictional characters... the friendships, dialogue, psychology and even physical movement of the characters seems very genuine. It's a pleasure to read, and the overall diary/confessional style of the book is as well.

Read it with an eye for Plato. The allegory of the cave seems to figure quite prominently, but in an altogether unique way at times.

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Mar 06, 2018

taylorminato thinks this title is suitable for 16 years and over


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Mar 06, 2018

"Uncertain Weights & Measures" tells the turbulent tale of Tatiana, a young neuroscientist whose endeavours to discover the physiological aspects of genius at Moscow's Institut Mozga are shadowed by the looming presence of the Stalinist government. She and Sasha, her partner and a dedicated artist, must face tests of their characters as people, as Russians, and as lovers in a radically changing Russia at the precipice of political reform.


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