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Scarlet Sails

3.90  ·  Rating details ·  7,891 ratings  ·  191 reviews
In this Russian classic of romance and adventure at sea, Arthur Grey falls in love with Asole without ever having exchanged a word with her. Also known in English translation as "Crimson Sails."
Hardcover, 126 pages
Published October 1st 1969 by Angus And Robertson (first published November 23rd 1922)
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Average rating 3.90  · 
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 ·  7,891 ratings  ·  191 reviews

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Scarlet Sails, a beloved Russian fairy-tale for adults and children alike, is a story about dreams coming true, no matter how silly or futile or far-reached they may seem.

(Because of this book, I even had a sailor suit when I was little :D)

Who hasn't had wild childhood dreams that we secretly hoped would come true? Alexander Grin wrote a book where they do. Written in the early 20th century, in the newly socialist Russia where realism and class struggle were supposed to be the ultimate goal in art, this si
Χαρά Ζ.
Jan 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
_Scarlet Sails_

*It's a 4,5*
This book by Alexander Grin is a fairy tale. A beautiful, old fashioned, tender, emotional and soft fairy tale. One that is for adults that never lost their innocence, one that is for dreamers and believers. I feel enchanted by this book, i feel lost to this amazing dream, i feel like a child that have been told the most fascinating story by my mother as i go to bed at night.
For the love of God Grin, i am in awe.
Παιδιά το επίμετρο στο τέλος ήτα
Algernon (Darth Anyan)
Jul 09, 2012 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Algernon (Darth Anyan) by: Nataliya
Shelves: 2013

I first heard about it in a comment to Catherynne Valente's Orphan Tales . The comparison is appropriate, because Alexander Grin's novella is another 'modern' fairytale written in beautiful prose. I can understand now how it was possible for Crimson Sails to become a classic in Russian literature, despite the fact that (or posibbly because of the fact that) it is so different from the social realism literary current dominant at the time of its publication.

To resume the story, Assol is a Cinderella type of
Apr 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: children, romantic, liked
What can I say about this book? It's terrific! Well written, innocent enough for kids but romantic enough for adults, short enough that you don't have to invest much time, but long enough for an evening or two. and I just love how characters act. He and she just believe in each other... though they've never met. What an incredible love story.
Olga Godim
Nov 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This novella was my favorite book, when I grew up in the Soviet Union. Since its first publication in 1923, it’s had numerous adaptations in Russia, including a super-popular movie and a ballet. Now, it also has an annual festival in St. Petersburg named after it. The festival--a gala for high school graduates--takes place in the middle of June, during a prom night, a white night in St. Petersburg. The highlight of the night is when a ship under scarlet sails cruises along the Neva River, and sp ...more
Mina Soare
Nov 08, 2012 rated it really liked it
Why read this? For the short version, skip the next two paragraphs. Be warned: this book has long descriptions - just like my review.

As a mix of romantism and simbolism (so it's written), combined with a fact that it's a third-person old-style narration, this book takes detail-oriented to a new level. As the action can be generally summed up in 3 to five phrases, which I won't do here, everything that sits still long enough is described: forest, ground, sun, flowers, drunk characters
Apr 15, 2008 rated it did not like it
Read this as a kid and I think I liked it, but this time not so much. It's got a fairy-tale plot, but not much of one, and knowing what happens already it just didn't hold my interest. Insofar as the hero had a personality at all (the characters are more like archetypes), he was kind of pompous and annoying. The translation (from Russian) seemed a bit awkward in parts, and some of the images and metaphors didn't really work too well for me -- like "She noticed nothing along the way, as when she ...more
This was very cute. It's an arch-typical old-fashioned love story, but it had an ever so sight twist in that the "wonder" that occurred was indeed no wonder, but clever machination ^^ If not, I'm afraid it would have been terribly cliché. It's not though, and you've got to admit that the Captain is a sly bastard. NICE MOVE.

Extra points for being very easy to read. That's something I appreciate these days.

Also, it contains occasional stuff like this:
"Том, как ты женился?"
"Я по
Jun 10, 2008 rated it it was ok
Shelves: literature
maybe i'm too old for fairy tales, but honestly, I don't think children should believe that if you sit on your ass all your life daydreaming and believing a prince will come, sailing a boat with scarlet sails to take you to your dreamland. I'd rather say go make your own boat with scarlet sails and sail away to make your dreams come true.
Jun 21, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian
That was a sweet little story, it truly is a nice thing when you stumble across an author like Grin by chance and are rewarded with such beautiful prose. Not a word wasted in this tale.

Definitely worth checking out, especially if you're one of those who insist on reading Russian classics. This is a nice change to the more depressing works you are used to.
Jan 24, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011, romance, 27-before-27, ru
What a wonderful language! A kind modern authors aren't able even imagine to achieve. That is why it is worth to read classics - to remember how beautiful language can be, how colorful, how deep, how magnificent.

Talking about plot - it tells the story about how important it is to believe despite everything. When you believe - you will get what you want, all the world will help you.
Aug 14, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: library
Demonstrates the power in choosing to fulfill another's dreams, choosing understanding over ridicule, and contrasts that with other choices and other consequences. Well woven. One of the most beautiful and enduring love stories ever written. Of course, the Russian (Alye Parusa) is far more poetic and moving.
Jan 26, 2019 rated it liked it
This children's book is a favorite in Russia. It is the tale of a girl whose life starts in tragedy and who, at 10, receives a prophesy from a stranger that the captain of a ship with scarlet sails will come one day just for her. Though the story is predictable, it is written in a charming, dreamlike way.
Le Quynh Huong
Dec 03, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic
Fate is sometimes made by one's self-desicion.
Dec 06, 2013 rated it it was amazing
This is one of a small handful of books that fascinated me as a child and young adult, and stayed with me. This book literally STAYED with me, as I have moved all over the U.S. and from house to apartment, etc., countless times. It has lasted through numerous downsizings and purges as well. All this to say, the book is very special and I have not been able to part with it. To me, the way this book evokes images and feelings is so powerful, and the way the settings are described very vivid and se ...more
Mar 30, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: middle-grade
Actually, I'm not a big fan of romance, but I decided to give this book a chance. The wording and the language of the book is magnificent! Though sometimes there are too many describtions to get through the book... The beginning is really good - I liked how Grin describes childhood of the main heros and establishes their characters. However, the romance between heros looks too unnatural (view spoiler) ...more
Aug 27, 2007 rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: lovers of a simple, lovely story
My sister and her husband asked all the guests at their wedding to give them a copy of their favorite books instead a of a wedding gift. Soem close family friends handed them this, and now I see why. It's a classic, simple story of dreams and love, like a fairytale. I liked it tons.
Yulia Mihailovskaia
One of my favourite books!
May 27, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: classic
A short beautiful and lyrical tale. It was very predictable and lacked action but made up for it with its feelings of hope and wisdom.
Jun 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
A wonderful, magical romance. I received this book when I was a child, and I still love it...
I've wanted to read this for years and years and I finally got around to it. It's a lovely, simple little tale with more depth than you'd think at first, and the translation seems well-done...or at least, I appreciated the language even though it wasn't in the first language.

Cynical as I am, I expected a very different ending: (view spoiler) ...more
Viktoriya Naboyshchykova
This book taught me about dreams- never be afraid to dream as there will be someone or something who will help to your dream come true.
".... I've realised one simple truth: you should make miracles by your own hands. When a man want a dime, it is easy to give him a dime. But when the seed of blazing blossom, A Miracle, lurks in a man's soul, make that miracle for him, if you can. Then he will have a new soul, and so will you. When a prison warden frees his prisoner; when a millionaire presents
Tamsin Blain
Jan 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Believe in dreams and hold onto hope. In spite of hatred and pain, Sol does and remains rue to her own nature. Eventually her Red Sails come to her
Very predictable fairytale but no less beautiful for that.
Alexander Grin uses words like an artist uses paints, images form in your mind with each phrase in glorious colour and sound and scent.
The Brothers Grim would have loved his use of language
Jun 18, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
"Follow your dream!" - this is a motto of main characters.
Naive, cute story about big power of dreams and pure hearts, about true love and so long awaited happiness. We can smile while reading this book, even saying: that's can't be truth, real life is different. But at the end everyone gets what he deserved. Isn't it best lesson?
Đức Nguyên
for relaxing is okay, but I think it's too dreamer, somewhat paranoid. Honest, I don't really like it. It's not because this story is bad, maybe I'm kind of person who like facts and logic more, I think I will read fewer books like this one.
Jun 27, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
4.5/5 stars

A fairytale novella, without magic. A romance, in the old sense of the term. The writing is elegant and memorable. Very unlike any Russian fiction I've read before.
Nguyên Mai
Jul 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A handmade Miracle.
Basak Ekinci
Jan 01, 2019 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
I think mostly because of the Turkish translator(!) of this book, it was simply terrible to understand and to follow till the end.
Liza Kurchak
Mar 09, 2019 rated it it was amazing
I read this book a long time ago on Russian. Then I read it again. Romantic and adventurous
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Alexander Grin or Green is the pen name of Aleksandr Stepanovich Grinevskiĭ (Russian: Александр Степанович Грин (настоящее имя — Алексaндр Степaнович Гринeвский)), August 23, 1880 – July 8, 1932) , a Russian writer, notable for his romantic novels and short stories, mostly set in an unnamed fantasy land with a European or Latin American flavor. He was a sailor, gold miner and construction worker, but ...more
“Вы видите, как тесно сплетены здесь судьба, воля и свойство характеров; я прихожу к той, которая ждёт и может ждать только меня, я же не хочу никого другого, кроме неё, может быть именно потому, что благодаря ей я понял одну нехитрую истину. Она в том, чтобы делать так называемые чудеса своими руками. Когда для человека главное — получать дражайший пятак, легко дать этот пятак, но, когда душа таит зерно пламенного растения — чуда, сделай ему это чудо, если ты в состоянии. Новая душа будет у него и новая у тебя. Когда начальник тюрьмы сам выпустит заключённого, когда миллиардер подарит писцу виллу, опереточную певицу и сейф, а жокей хоть раз попридержит лошадь ради другого коня, которому не везёт, — тогда все поймут, как это приятно, как невыразимо чудесно. Но есть не меньшие чудеса: улыбка, веселье, прощение, и — вовремя сказанное, нужное слово. Владеть этим — значит владеть всем. Что до меня, то наше начало — моё и Ассоль — останется нам навсегда в алом отблеске парусов, созданных глубиной сердца, знающего, что такое любовь.” 7 likes
“Я понял одну нехитрую истину. Она в том, чтобы делать так называемые чудеса своими руками. Когда для человека главное - получать дражайший пятак, легко дать этот пятак, но, когда душа таит зерно пламенного растения - чуда, сделай ему это чудо, если ты в состоянии. Новая душа будет у него и новая у тебя.” 5 likes
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