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The Wild East redux

by henrycopeland
Monday, September 15th, 2003

A long time ago, I wrote an article about a bunch of young Americans in Prague. Details magazine, then edited by the fast-rising James Truman, bought the article and gave it the headline Wild, Wild East.

Now, nearly a dozen years later, a New Yorker editor has gathered a bunch of short stories by people like Arthur Phillips, Josip Novakovich John Beckman, and Charlotte Hobson about life in Eastern Europe and titled it… The Wild East. I thought that title cliched even in 1992. But I guess, like amber, some cliches become so ossified they take on a new brilliance and attraction.

Unfortunately, so far at least, none of the fiction I’ve read about the decade after the fall of communism come close to the weirdness and wildness of that time. Fiction just can’t compare.

Footnotes: #1 many of those young Americans are now bloggers: Matt Welch, Amy Langfield, Ken Layne, Doug Arellanes and Ben Sullivan. Other bloggers I met in the Wild East include Rick Bruner, Nick Denton and Emmanuelle Richard. I guess you could call us the “Wild East Blogger Bunch.” Grunt. OK, footnote #2 I’ve met a couple of people in bars through the years who claimed they moved to Prague after reading my brilliant prose. Was that you? Leave a comment.

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