Greatest Russian Novels of All Time

Genius literary novels by writers from Russia.
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flag this list (?)
151 books · 369 voters · list created March 14th, 2012 by David Lentz (votes) .
136 likes · 
Lists are re-scored approximately every 5 minutes.


David 858 books
2018 friends
Anne (Booklady) 2068 books
457 friends
Soumya 1266 books
32 friends
Eyehavenofilter 1999 books
334 friends
Roberta 942 books
6 friends
Aaron 629 books
15 friends
Amy 538 books
3029 friends
Amy 631 books
861 friends

More voters…


Comments (showing 1-48 of 48) (48 new)

dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Aaron (new)

Aaron Bliese I think that Lolita should be struck from the list. Yes, by all means it was written by a russian, but the argument could be made (I won't do it here) that in fact, do to his experience in America as a professor, this novel is quite an extraordinary American novel.


message 2: by Amy (new)

Amy Neftzger This was a tough choice because several of these books/ authors are really good but have very different styles and topics.


message 3: by David (new)

David Lentz Aaron wrote: "I think that Lolita should be struck from the list. Yes, by all means it was written by a russian, but the argument could be made (I won't do it here) that in fact, do to his experience in America ..."

Dear Aaaron,
Yes, I understand your point.
Will do.
Thanks.
Cordially,
David


message 4: by Eyehavenofilter (last edited Mar 15, 2012 05:09PM) (new)

Eyehavenofilter David I'm with you on this one. I know, I know, it was written by a Russian, but is really a GREAT novel, or just a "sensational" one? I have my reasons , but I will keep them to myself this time.


message 5: by Kaethe (new)

Kaethe Thanks for the invite, but I haven't got a good track record with Russian novelists.


message 6: by Richard (new)

Richard David, It's a fine list, but I voted only for the books I have read. I realize that many more of these are classics. BTW, if you could tweak the title to read "writers" rather than "novelists," you could include Isaac Babel who was a genius in the genre of the short story. But no pressure!


message 7: by David (new)

David Lentz Richard wrote: "David, It's a fine list, but I voted only for the books I have read. I realize that many more of these are classics. BTW, if you could tweak the title to read "writers" rather than "novelists," you..."

Dear Richard,
Thank you for your kind note.
There is another Listopia List on Russian Writers, which includes playwrights, poets and short story writers.
I was hoping to raise awareness of the options for those seeking to read great Russian novels, a genre in which the Russians excel.
I certainly value your recommendations, Richard. Please stay in touch.
Cordially,
David


message 8: by Richard (new)

Richard David wrote: "Richard wrote: "David, It's a fine list, but I voted only for the books I have read. I realize that many more of these are classics. BTW, if you could tweak the title to read "writers" rather than ..."

Well, I'm seeking to extend my knowledge of Russian novels and read some of those which are currently languishing on my to-read shelf. So this list is a step in the right direction. I will check out the other list too.


message 9: by David (new)

David Lentz Richard wrote: "David wrote: "Richard wrote: "David, It's a fine list, but I voted only for the books I have read. I realize that many more of these are classics. BTW, if you could tweak the title to read "writers..."

Dear Richard,
Good man!
Cordially,
David


message 10: by David (new)

David Lentz Looks like Nabokov's "Lolita" is wanted on this list. I have mixed feelings about this novel but I respect the quality of the writing.


message 11: by Raul (new)

Raul Clement Dostoevsky is pretty much tops among Russian authors for me. I've yet to read a lot of these.


message 12: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell Gulag Archipelago is not a novel. Eugene Onegin is not a novel, either.


message 13: by Moira (new)

Moira Russell David wrote: "Looks like Nabokov's "Lolita" is wanted on this list. I have mixed feelings about this novel but I respect the quality of the writing."

Nabokov doesn't fit because the other writers are Russians and he was a a naturalised American citizen. (Yeah, Solzhenitsyn lived in Vermont for about twenty years, but he returned, for one thing.)


message 14: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Y Moira wrote: "Gulag Archipelago is not a novel. Eugene Onegin is not a novel, either."

"Eugene Onegin"is a verse novel.


message 15: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Y Moira wrote: "David wrote: "Looks like Nabokov's "Lolita" is wanted on this list. I have mixed feelings about this novel but I respect the quality of the writing."

Nabokov doesn't fit because the other writers ..."


First nine novels by Nabokov were written in Russian. He was Russian and American novelist.


message 16: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Y Thank you, David, for the invite. The list is nice, but I'd add "Quiet Flows the Don" by M.Sholokhov.


message 17: by Capsguy (last edited Mar 17, 2012 01:14AM) (new)

Capsguy The United States, so desperate for quality authors that they're saying that something written by a Russian, is in fact American.

>Spends 40 years in Europe
>Spends 5 years in the USA
>After 5 years in the USA, Lolita is published
>Lolita is an 'American' book.

It's an English book written by a Russian author.


This is partly a troll, but also reflective of my opinion. Cumulative experiences abroad (especially in France) for a lot of the 'great' American writers (Fitzgerald, Hemingway) influenced their writings, but that does not mean it is European literature now, does it?


message 18: by Natasha (new)

Natasha Y Irreconcilable difference. I'd love Nabokov's books less, if somebody proved that he's an American. )))


message 19: by David (new)

David Lentz Natalie wrote: "Thank you, David, for the invite. The list is nice, but I'd add "Quiet Flows the Don" by M.Sholokhov."

Dear Natalie,
Done.
Thank you for your kind recommendation.
Cordially,
David


message 20: by David (last edited Mar 17, 2012 06:02AM) (new)

David Lentz Capsguy wrote: "The United States, so desperate for quality authors that they're saying that something written by a Russian, is in fact American.

>Spends 40 years in Europe
>Spends 5 years in the USA
>After 5 yea..."


Dear Capsguy,
Your point is well so made that I am compelled to agree with you.
Nabokov is a Russian so learned that he was able to craft a masterpiece for the ages in another language.
What a brilliant writer.
Cordially,
David


message 21: by David (last edited Mar 17, 2012 06:16AM) (new)

David Lentz Natalie wrote: "Moira wrote: "Gulag Archipelago is not a novel. Eugene Onegin is not a novel, either."

"Eugene Onegin"is a verse novel."


I'm quite confident that "Eugene Onegin" is a novel but Nabokov's translation is so lyrical that it reads very much like poetry. Essentially, "Eugene Onegin" impresses me as a verse novel written by a poetic genius who blends the genres. Unless others object, I'll delete "Gulag," which is actually non-fiction.
Cordially,
David


message 22: by Ted (new)

Ted Why is this list called "Novelists" rather than "Novels"? We are voting on books, not people. I find the list's title really grates on me.

Interesting discussions, and a fun list to vote on. I wish I had read many more of these books.


message 23: by Philip (new)

Philip Aaron wrote: "I think that Lolita should be struck from the list. Yes, by all means it was written by a russian, but the argument could be made (I won't do it here) that in fact, do to his experience in America ..."

Agreed--it is an extraordinary American novel!


message 24: by David (new)

David Lentz Ted wrote: "Why is this list called "Novelists" rather than "Novels"? We are voting on books, not people. I find the list's title really grates on me.

Interesting discussions, and a fun list to vote on. I ..."


Dear Ted,
Agree, done.
Cordially,
David


message 25: by David (new)

David Lentz Philip wrote: "Aaron wrote: "I think that Lolita should be struck from the list. Yes, by all means it was written by a russian, but the argument could be made (I won't do it here) that in fact, do to his experien..."

Dear Philip,
Changed the subhead to writers from Russia, as in born in Russia. Hope that clarifies things a bit.
Cordially,
David


message 26: by David (new)

David Lentz Capsguy wrote: "The United States, so desperate for quality authors that they're saying that something written by a Russian, is in fact American.

>Spends 40 years in Europe
>Spends 5 years in the USA
>After 5 yea..."


Dear Capsguy,
Your Russian lit shelf is off the charts. I hope you'll consider adding more novels to this list to open up Goodreaders to more masterpieces in the genre from Russia. I also hope that we hear from more Russians about their favorite genius novelists.
Cordially,
David


message 27: by Capsguy (new)

Capsguy What makes it American Philip?


message 28: by Philip (new)

Philip What makes it American?!!! Read it and see! Lolita is an amazing picture of 1950's American life. Nabokov really got it.


message 29: by David (new)

David Lentz Dear Philip,
If you want to see a truly spectacular list of Russian writers, then visit Capsguy's Russian shelf. It's quite clear he has read and understood this novel. Nabokov was a Russian writer whose setting for one novel, "Lolita," is America. Hemingway's writing about bull fighting in Spain doesn't make his writing Spanish, does it?


message 30: by Philip (new)

Philip David wrote: "Dear Philip,
If you want to see a truly spectacular list of Russian writers, then visit Capsguy's Russian shelf. It's quite clear he has read and understood this novel. Nabokov was a Russian writer..."


David, from what you say, I am most happy to respect Capsguy's "Russian shelf," but I spent a couple of weeks studying "Lolita" in an American novel course here at the U of MN. Aside from the fact that the English Dept. classified it as an American novel, if you read it you simply have to (IMHO) agree that it is an American novel. It absolutely, beautifully describes and is immersed in mid-20th-century Americana, it captures this era and some of its characters with extraordinary clarity; and perhaps it is because Nabokov was NOT American that he was able to see and depict it so clearly.
If you want to make the list "Novels by Russian Writers," then fine; but if the list is "Russian Novels," then I must insist that "Lolita" absolutely does not qualify. And I'm not going to get dragged into a discussion about Hemingway and bullfights in Spain, either: although I appreciate your intent on making a relevant comparison, the plain fact of "Lolita" as a unique work of art is enough for me.


message 31: by Ted (new)

Ted Clearly in any discussion of whether a novel or a writer is in this or that national literary tradition, when the writer in question was born, or grew up, or lived, or worked, in different countries, people are going to draw the line at different places. Equally clearly, many people want Lolita to be on this list, no matter how the list itself is described. That said, if one doesn't think a book "belongs" on the list, don't vote for it, and by all means post a comment! That is enough. Nothing is really riding on this, it is for everyone's enjoyment.


message 32: by Reese (new)

Reese Ted wrote: "Clearly in any discussion of whether a novel or a writer is in this or that national literary tradition, when the writer in question was born, or grew up, or lived, or worked, in different countrie..."

Thank you, Ted. Bravo!


message 33: by Ted (new)

Ted Reese, thank you. My first Bravo ever. :)


message 34: by Raul (new)

Raul Clement I'd like to see more Solzhenitsyn on here. I believe Cancer Ward to be a better book that One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich or The First Circle.


message 35: by Ted (new)

Ted Raul, I'm not the "keeper" of this list, but in lieu of David's next visit: anyone can add books that conform to the list's description onto the list. Just click on the "add books to this list" tab at the top of the page, right behind the "all votes" tab.


message 36: by David (new)

David Lentz Dear Raul,
Ted is right. However, I added this great novel to our list of great literature by people from Russia.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads Yeah, it's pretty easy to add books to lists.


message 38: by Charles (new)

Charles Berman For the sake of simplicity, and to avoid potentially endless arguments about the relative Russianness of many writers, why not define "Russian novels" as "novels written in Russian?"

Nabokov's _Lolita_ would go, as he wrote it in English, but his _Invitation to a Beheading and _The Gift_ would stay.


message 39: by Darwin8u (last edited Feb 13, 2014 09:16AM) (new)

Darwin8u The following are all Nabokov's ENGLISH novels, and thus shouldn't be included (IMHO):


(1941) The Real Life of Sebastian Knight
(1947) Bend Sinister
(1955) Lolita, self-translated into Russian (1965)
(1957) Pnin
(1962) Pale Fire
(1969) Ada or Ardor: A Family Chronicle
(1972) Transparent Things
(1974) Look at the Harlequins!
(2009) The Original of Laura


message 40: by Darwin8u (new)

Darwin8u David wrote: "Dear Raul,
Ted is right. However, I added this great novel to our list of great literature by people from Russia."


But I would argue that there are actually two Nabokovs. There is the Russian Nabokov and the American Nabokov. His work itself (his focus on doppelgängers, twins, duality, mirror images, etc) suggests this.


message 41: by Paul (new)

Paul Bowes Checked for duplicates. Removed several collections of short stories, an anthology of plays, and a work of autobiography.


message 42: by Ananya (last edited Apr 06, 2015 08:14PM) (new)

Ananya Aparajita Eyehavenofilter wrote: "David I'm with you on this one. I know, I know, it was written by a Russian, but is really a GREAT novel, or just a "sensational" one? I have my reasons , but I will keep them to myself this time."
You are right.It is not a great novel.It is just sensational.


message 43: by Nathan (new)

Nathan Capsguy wrote: "The United States, so desperate for quality authors that they're saying that something written by a Russian, is in fact American.

>Spends 40 years in Europe
>Spends 5 years in the USA
>After 5 yea..."


You have a very good point!


message 44: by Oleg (new)

Oleg Gerassimenko The list contains the authors that would hardly qualify to be called well-known: Marina Dyachenko, Telman Karab-ogli, Yuri Kruman, Victor Serge... Putting them in the list Greatest Russian Novels of All Time and omitting the really great books looks at least irresponsible. Some people use these lists as reference and recommendation...


message 45: by Tatiana (new)

Tatiana Mitrakhovich The list includes just one novel from Goncharov, Lermontov, Saltykov-Schedrin, Gorky, and at least dozen of authors nobody knows except few people, for whom literature is profession (I'm not one of them, so I see these names first time in my life). It is also unusual for Russian person to see 16 works of Dostoevsky (not all of them are novels, let be honest), just 4 Tolstoy's, and just 1 Pushkin (his short stories are no worse that short stories of Dostoevsky and impacted on Russian language and culture more than short stories of Dostoevsky, mentioned in the list). If this is not list of only novels, then it would be right to include works of Ivan Bunin and many other writers.


Susanna - Censored by GoodReads It's easy to add books to the list - at the top of the list, at the tab next to "all votes."


V. PARENTAL GUIDANCE ALERT:  A Court of Wings and Ruin is NEW ADULT borderline erotica but Goodreads editors won't tell you Stupid, cheating heroine is above war and peace? Just because it's suppodesly a "romance" but Ana Karenina is not better than War and Peace. It doesn't take 10 years to write about a doormat, cheating heroine.


message 48: by Nente (new)

Nente Struck off Of Human Bondage. A great novel, and I loved it, but Russian it is not.

David, would you like short stories removed? At a cursory glance, The Overcoat and The Nose don't belong here, definitely non-novels.


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