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Russian literature

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message 1: by Christian (new)

Christian How does this book compare to other works of Russian literature?

I tried reading Crime and Punishment 3 times but just couldn't get through it. Although I thought it had an intriguing premise the book was not enjoyable for me. I ended up watching the 1970s 3 and a half hour Russian mini series. And after that I was very glad that I didn't read it as I don't think the pay off was worth it and the story wasn't that spectacular.

That has put me off reading The Brothers Karamazov, Demons, Anna Karenina and War and Peace. Obviously they are significant time investments because of their length? Are they worth reading? Are they more enjoyable than Crime and Punishment?

message 2: by Brolie (last edited Oct 21, 2020 10:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Brolie I personally think Russian Literature is one of the greatest things to come out of the country. The philosophies and commentary on society and humanity in general are just amazing. Turgenev's Father and Sons is one of my all time favorites.

Crime and Punishment though was fantastic. Just read it for the first time not too long ago and his descent into madness and the observations of how the subconscious truth can eat away at any justification you may be able to make to your conscious mind is just fantastic. I thoroughly enjoyed it, BUT at the same time, I did it on audiobook and that may have helped.

As far as Leo Tolstoy though - Anna Karenina and War and Peace - he is completely different in my opinion. Anna Karenina spoke so much to human nature and the different types of people. Yes, it was cultural for the time, but the reality of who each character was and what they represented is very much still applicable. My husband will say "my friend totally got Vronsky'd" because that situation still absolutely happens.

message 3: by Kerry (last edited Oct 23, 2020 04:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Kerry When I first read Crime and Punishment 30 years ago, I sped through that book. I think I was the only one in my class who actually read the whole thing. When it ended I wished it would go on or there was a second book. My brother loved it too. He made a screenplay and a movie called Crime & Punishment 2: Rodya’s Revenge.
For Tolstoy I was forever changed by The Death of Ivan Ilyich. Ever since those I have been engrossed by Russian Literature. Any suggestions?

message 4: by J (new) - rated it 5 stars

J Dostoevsky and Tolstoy are very different, and there is actually quite a lot of amazing Russian lit beyond them. If you found C & P a slog, Dostoevsky might not be for you: it's more intense than some of his other books, and most of them are slower, in my mind. They are really focused on the playing out of ideas, while Tolstoy is very different and much more character driven, with lots of brilliant sentences that encompass human experiences perfectly and in miniature. If you wanted to try Tolstoy while avoiding anything lengthy, I agree with the suggestion to read Death of Ivan Ilyich: it's about a man facing his own death, and it is intense and short. Of the two best-known classics, Anna Karenina is shorter and faster-paced than War and Peace, and very different from Crime and Punishment. But also consider trying other Russians: Chekhov and Gogol are both famous for short stories (I think you might find Chekhov's more accessible). Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn is completely extraordinary and I like him as much as or more than Dostoevsky and Tolstoy. He got the Nobel, for what that's worth. Another Russian Nobel laureate is Svetlana Alexievich, who does narrative journalism. Her Voices from Chernobyl is mind-blowing and disturbing--hundreds of pages of short first-person descriptions of various experiences in the aftermath of nuclear meltdown that just exploded my head.

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