This is truly a remarkable book and a great change-up to what I have been reading lately. Many great authors come to mind while reading this, most notThis is truly a remarkable book and a great change-up to what I have been reading lately. Many great authors come to mind while reading this, most notably Jonathan Swift, Gabriel Garcia Marquez, Salman Rushdie, Franz Kafka, Nikolai Gogol, Mikhail Bulgakov and maybe even Hunter S. Thompson (yep, even Hunter). Like those authors, Pisakhov exposes corruption, politics, religion and economics in a thinly veiled Aesopian format that was historically common in Russian literature to get by the censors. I am guessing that this censorship was still in place during most of his lifetime.
Pisakhov, has a very agile imagination coupled with a quick intellect and he can come very close to having you believe these outlandish stories. There are stories such as "Frozen Songs", "The Moon From The Sky's Basement" and the "Apple Tree" that are not only beautiful, but extraordinary conceptually and leave you wishing that they could actually be true.
This book was recommended to me by the translator, Blackwell Boyce (who did a masterful job compiling this). I am very grateful that he did. I would recommend this to all lovers of Russian literature, magical realism and absurdist humor that is written tastefully. ...more
Being that this was written in the year 2000, I would like to research the man a bit further. I find nothing notably distasteful about Putin in this fBeing that this was written in the year 2000, I would like to research the man a bit further. I find nothing notably distasteful about Putin in this first person account. He, as well as all of his family members, seem like regular folks to me.
Here in the west, he gets a tremendous amount of bad press, as many of Russian origin do. I have a more recent account of Putin that I plan to read soon.
Having said that, I thought that the book was thought-provoking and provided useful insight to Putin, his family and the Russian system after the collapse of the Soviet Union.
It is worthy of reading. You may discover that Putin may not be who or what you thought that he was....more
Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev is a master of the short story and novella. There is no other Russian writer that I know of who has such a flair for creatingIvan Sergeevich Turgenev is a master of the short story and novella. There is no other Russian writer that I know of who has such a flair for creating and describing landscapes. One could argue that Lermontov is a rival, but unfortunately, his body of work is quite small.
This short summary only refers to King Lear of the Steppes. But, Rudin is excellent as well.
King Lear of the Steppes is pure magic. It is also pure sadness about a far-fetched, yet believable, "mountain of a man" that may remind one of the American Paul Bunyan (in physical description at least).
From time immemorial, many Russian authors have used Aesopian writing to get their work past the censors. You may expect to find quite a few pearls of wisdom, parables and allegories not too deeply buried in this novella.
There are lessons to be learned here, but the real strength of the story is Turgenev's excellent writing and ability to develop a story very quickly....more