El's Reviews > Sanin: A Novel

Sanin by Mikhail Petrovich Artsybashev
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's review
Jul 04, 09

really liked it
bookshelves: 20th-centurylit-early, russia
Read in July, 2009

My, my, my... these Russian authors sure know how to have a good time.

The title character, Sanin (my 1932 edition has the name spelled as Sanine), has returned home to his mother and sister, Lida, after a long absence. His behavior is different from what they remember of him - now he says what he feels at every moment, not tiptoeing around anyone's feelings, often being derisive, sarcastic, flippant, sometimes petulant. Also returning to home is Yourii, the revolutionary who, surprisingly, seems to have more heart than Sanine. There are some issues with love and sex (a lot of issues with sex), life and death, radical ideas and thinking, and, well, it's a Russian novel through and through. Honestly, only a Russian author of the early 20th century can write beautiful descriptions of the landscape while tossing in a couple suicides.

Also of note are the illustrations in my edition by Cameron Wright. They are most certainly worth checking out.
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