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Any recommendations of other Russian novels?

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Old-Barbarossa W+P was my second venture into Russian literature (The Master and Margarita the 1st). Apart from the epilogue which I felt was a bit repetitive I loved it.
I was hoping for a few pointers as to what to try next, also any advice on translations would be appreciated.



message 2: by Stefan (new)

Stefan Balica Try Dostoievsky - Crime and Punishment, Notes From The Underground, The Idiot, The Gambler, The Brothers Karamazov


message 3: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline George I see Stefan's list as very good but quite serious. If you would like something a little more accessible, can I suggest Pushkin's 'The Captain's Daughter' at one end of the time scale and Solzhenitsyn's 'One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich' at the other?


message 4: by Alan (new)

Alan For more Tolstoy, Anna Karenina and Resurrection were highly recommended to me. I've tried Resurrection, but couldn't get on with it, because it seemed too dry and slow. However, I think that's probably just me. It's not a long book and worth a go.

BenthamFish


message 5: by Jacqueline (new)

Jacqueline George Please - not Anna Karenina. Tolstoy definitely viewed women as lesser beings - the one thing about him that really annoys me. Anna spirals downwards through the book and that is what the story is about. If she had only stand up for herself and said, "I'm me, and I refuse to think I'm worthless", there would not have been a story. Well, not that story, anyway!

Funny, you can read about Shylock and make allowances for Shakespeare's time, but I'm afraid Tolstoy was a cranky old chauvinist - along with all the genius.


Old-Barbarossa Not having read AK I can't comment on it specifically, but in W+P I founds everyone fairly flawed. No divisions along national or gender lines. Are all the female characters in AK weak or just AK? If just AK, maybe that's the point.
Might give it a go anyway. Will check a bunch of reviews for the works you all mentioned and then decide. Then I'll start adding to my evergrowing "to read" pile.
Thanks to all for the pointers.


message 7: by Bethany (new)

Bethany Anderson I've heard that The Bronze Horseman by Paullina Simons is a very good read. I can only say that it has been recommended to me many times because it's still sitting in my 'to read' list.


message 8: by Angela (new)

Angela Loved W+P but couldn't get into Anna Karenina.
If you like 1984 and Brave New World, read We by Yevgeny Zamyatin. This is a great distopian novel. Also, Republic of the Southern Cross.


Mackay Dead Souls, by Gogol. August, 1914, by Solzhenitsyn. Doctor Zhivago, by Boris Pasternak.




Dietmar I would suggest: White Guard, by Mikhail Bulgakov, any book by A. Cechov (a collection of his short stories), Dead Souls, by N. Gogol, Dostojewski (Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamasov).


Dubravka My three all time favorites: The Life of Klim Samgin by Maxim Gorky, War and Peace by L. Tolstoy, and Peter the Great by A. Tolstoy, in that order.


message 12: by Zulfiya (last edited Apr 19, 2011 07:53PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Zulfiya My all time favorites are Gogol's 'Dead souls', 'Heart of a Dog' and 'Master and Margarita' by Bulgakov, and 'Idiot' by Dostoevsky.
All the above-mentioned novels are quite heavy reads both literary and figuratively. And I am not sure about the quality of their translation as Russian is my first language (well, used to be. Now it is the majesty and grandeur of the English language [that is how Professor Higgins defines it]:-) )I tried to read one of the Pushkin's novels in English just for the sake of scientific curiosity, and it was poorly done, so I gave up. Anyway, all the above-mentioned ones abound in Russian lacunae, and I am not sure how adequate the translation is.
But if you are looking for a light, but still quality read, I would recommend Boris Akunin. His novels about the Russian 19th - 20th century sleuth are well-written, engaging, with certain psychologically depth and multi-dimensional characters. And the main character is a 'Byronesque' romanticist with a finely tuned and extremely perceptive Russian soul as well as astute and brilliant mind.


message 13: by [deleted user] (new)

Jacqueline wrote: "Please - not Anna Karenina. Tolstoy definitely viewed women as lesser beings - the one thing about him that really annoys me. Anna spirals downwards through the book and that is what the story is..."

God, I agree! Finally some guts. He was a curmudgeon who disliked women and treated them like lesser beings truly. Love his genius but not that book. Well said.


Dubravka As far as Anna Karenina goes, if there was a more feminist book or a better one, I'd be surprised.


Geoffrey Quiet Flows The Don was an excellent read.


message 16: by Lily (last edited Apr 20, 2011 09:54AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lily Nick wrote: "Anna Karenina was ok-ish, but it's basically a story about 'Levin' who has a bit of a metaphysical crisis before deciding that he was ok. Anna herself is capricious, wanton, immoral, driven and adu..."

IMHO, Anna Karenina deserves its reputation among many as one of the great novels of all time. Yes, Anna struggles, but, oh, what a struggle, and what a cry Tolstoy placed on his generation and succeeding ones.

One of the critiques I have read along the way said that Tolstoy himself fell in love with this beautiful woman, even when he wanted to not condone all her actions.

Yes, there is an entire parallel story centered on Levin and his wife Kitty, plus other family story lines, such as of Dolly and Stephan.

Please don't let negative perceptions steer you away from immersing yourself in this stunning novel sometime over your lifetime. You may become bored by parts, but that is par for the course in something this big, this sprawling, like life itself.


Charlie Thornton I am going to also recommend Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment.". It was the first book I read that truly shook me out of my middle class bougeios upbringing. In it's pages I first began to be acquainted with the spiritual hunger of the Russian soul.

My life changed then.

I knew then that one could be genuinely and passionately uncertain and that it wasn't disgraceful. It was so refreshing to a young man who was just beginning to wrestle with all of life's questions and who had happened to be brought up in the bombastic certainty that passes itself off as "being spiritual" in Protestant America.


message 18: by Lily (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lily Do include Alexander Pushkin and Anton Chekhov among the reading of Russian masters, although much of Chekhov is short stories.


message 19: by Nancy (new) - rated it 1 star

Nancy Vincent Nina Berberova. The Ladies from St. Petersburg.


Davis If no one has mentioned it, The Diary of a Superfluous Man, by Ivan Turgenev is a good read. It is somber like most Russian Lit., but I loved it.


Julie Wake Charlie wrote: "I am going to also recommend Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment.". It was the first book I read that truly shook me out of my middle class bougeios upbringing. In it's pages I first began to be a..."

I was very struck by your comments on crime and Punishment and thought it was so energising that a work of fiction could have that much effect on somebody.
I too loved this book, and it really does make you think about how lucky we are (me anyway!)


Frances Chan I'd definitely reccommend, as others have, Crime and Punishment and Anna Karenina. I've read a lot of Russian literature and these two stand out as being the most interesting, exciting, and the least depressing. :)


message 23: by Ray (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ray While Tolstoy is well beyond good, Dostoyevsky hits very close to what it means to live in this world. I don't know of anything better. Read him. Indulge in existence. Ease in through "Notes from Underground." You'll never regret it. Frankly, if you pick up a collection of his short stories and you read "Notes from Underground," "White Nights," and "Dream of a Ridiculous Man" you will understand everything his novels get at but in much less time. However, his novels are true benchmarks in the art of the novel.


message 24: by Jamie (last edited Jun 22, 2012 10:31PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Jamie Schoffman I don't believe anyone's mentioned Solzhenitsyn yet. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was AMAZING. I'd also include Nabokov's Lolita on this list, even though he wrote it while in the USA. Both Anna Karenina and Crime and Punishment are on my nightstand, so I look forward to tackling those.

And I also second Lily's suggestion that we include short story writers in the discussion. Chekhov is a short story genius!


message 25: by Andrew (new) - added it

Andrew Albritton I'll throw in a vote for Checkov. There is a cool collection of some of his crime and suspense stories titled A Night at the Cemetary - it's definitely worth checking out.


Casey (Myshkin) Buell Don't listen to these fools about Anna Karenina; it is the society which Tolstoy portrays that is chauvinistic, not Tolstoy himself. If anything Anna Karenina is a feminist novel, about a woman's struggle to make her own decisions in a patriarchal society. I highly recommend it.


Stella K Recommend: Medea's children by Luidmila Ulitskaya


message 28: by Cody (new) - added it

Cody Todd Try Oblomov by Ivan Goncharov
Also anything by Dostoevsky, Turnegev or Chekhov is also a good place to start. You really can't go wrong with Russian literature. Writing seems to flow through their veins.


Stella K Casey (Myshkin) wrote: "Don't listen to these fools about Anna Karenina; it is the society which Tolstoy portrays that is chauvinistic, not Tolstoy himself. If anything Anna Karenina is a feminist novel, about a woman's ..."

Couldn't agree more...


Helen Crime and Punishment and Anna Karenina. Both brilliant.


message 31: by Viktoriya (new)

Viktoriya Try Anatoly Rybakov, especially his "Arbat Trilogy" (my [personal favorite), or his YA books "The Bronze Bird", and "The Dirk". Also, Veniamin Kaverin "Two Captains" (a fantastic book that is loved by YA and adults alike). "The Little Golden Calf" and "Twelve Chairs" by Ilya Ilf and Evgeny Petrov (those two are simply a must.)


Floriana Try Kreutzerjeva sonata by Tolstoj and Doctor Zivago by Pasternak


message 33: by Tom (new) - rated it 4 stars

Tom Turgenev's Fathers and Sons. Short book - compared to Tolstoy - and captures the same Russia.

My favorite modern Russian novel - and a very modern novel by any standard - is The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov. This book is an absolute delight.


Graeme Jacqueline wrote: "Please - not Anna Karenina. Tolstoy definitely viewed women as lesser beings - the one thing about him that really annoys me. Anna spirals downwards through the book and that is what the story is..."

Actually, no, Tolstoy was not a chauvinist for his time and Anna Karenina is symbolic of a woman's plight in the high strata circles of late-imperialist Russia. Tolstoy was highly, highly enlightened for being a Count in Russia... one only has to look at his relationship with such people as Gandhi, who adopted Tolstoy's views of nonviolent pacifism.

The Russian Table of Ranks (clerks, counts, princes, etc) play such an important unspoken role in 18th-19th century Russian lit and is an undercurrent of novels that needs to be investigated so that one can have a better understanding of its role.

It is a severe and quite foolish shame to NOT read AK, or any other masterpiece because of the supposed or alleged negative viewpoints expressed by an author. The art is in the work itself.


Annie Anything by Tolstoy.


Simon Williams One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr I. Solzhenitsy. I read and excerpt of this on school, then went on to read the full book a few years later. Without giving anything away, nothing exciting happens, but I just couldn't put it down.


Annie Yes, all of Solzhenitsyn's books are amazing. Try his The First Circle or The Cancer Ward.


Annie Jacqueline wrote: "Please - not Anna Karenina. Tolstoy definitely viewed women as lesser beings - the one thing about him that really annoys me. Anna spirals downwards through the book and that is what the story is..."
So you don't think there are any women around here now who spiral downwards?


message 39: by Olga (last edited Jul 08, 2012 05:14PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Olga I agree with Stefan: by Dostoevsky, my favorites are "The Brothers Karamazov" and "Poor People". I also agree with Dietmar: "White Guard, by Mikhail Bulgakov and short stories by A. Chechov. Pushkin's "The Captain's Daughter" (as Jacqueline suggests too). I also love novels by Turgenev and Goncharov ("Oblomov" is my favorite). May I also suggest "Scarlet Sails" by Alexander Green, "Prince Serebrenni" ("Князь Серебряный") by Aleksey Konstantinovich Tolstoy? Veniamin Kaverin's "Two Captains" is one of my favorites too.I also agree with Zulfia - our contemporary Boris Akunin writes wonderful historical mystery/adventure novels. I have to say that I did not like "Doctor Zhivago". Also, have you read "Sandro of Chegem" by Fazil Iskander?


message 40: by Peter (last edited Jul 29, 2012 03:02PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Peter Pen Zotov, Akunin, Pushkin, Kaverin, Pasternak, Shalom Alejhem, Al. Tolstoy, Chechov, Kuprin, Iskander, Babel, Bulgakov.
A few names just to start with.


message 41: by Nik (new) - rated it 5 stars

Nik Life and Fate (Vassily Grossman) is a classic but also The Foundation Pit (Andrei Platonov) and, getting more contemporary, Oman Ra (Victor Pelevin)


message 42: by Rabab (last edited Aug 04, 2012 03:22PM) (new)

Rabab Anton Chekov, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin- a great dystopian fiction and Solzhenitsyn's One day's been mentioned a few times, which is a testament to its brilliance


message 43: by Lily (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lily Why aren't more mentioning Alexander Pushkin? Isn't that sort of like reading English literature without ever touching Shakespeare? It could be a wonderful ride, but why deprive yourself entirely?


Peter Pen Lily wrote: "Why aren't more mentioning Alexander Pushkin? Isn't that sort of like reading English literature without ever touching Shakespeare? It could be a wonderful ride, but why deprive yourself entirely?"

A.Pushkin is the greatest Russian poet and must be read only in Russian, as well as Shakespeare's sonnets must be read in English.


Peter Pen Rab wrote: "Anton Chekov, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin- a great dystopian fiction and Solzhenitsyn's One day's been mentioned a few times, which is a testament to its brilliance"

I do not think that Solzhenitsyn is/was a great author.
I believe that his success is based on political foundation rather than on his talent.


message 46: by Rabab (new)

Rabab Peter wrote: "Rab wrote: "Anton Chekov, We by Yevgeny Zamyatin- a great dystopian fiction and Solzhenitsyn's One day's been mentioned a few times, which is a testament to its brilliance"

I do not think that Sol..."


Well I'm only recommending him based on "One day in the life of Ivan Denisovich" so I'm probably not the best judge, but I liked his work.
Political foundations may have ensured his recognition , but I don't think that's the only reason he's successful


Boris Gregoric Any novel or even collection of stories by Solzhenitsyn. Start perhaps with the One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. Then move to The First Circle, Cancer Ward, Matryona's Place (stories), August 1914...


message 48: by JP (new) - rated it 3 stars

JP Definitely try Turgenev, e.g. Fathers and Sons and Rudin.
Also Dostoyevsky is a must read if you want to grasp Russian classics.


Hannah There are also some great modern Russian authors , boris akunin is good and ( ok technically Ukrainian ) death and the penguin is brilliant for its strangeness

Am still struggling with life and fate but it will hit me soon I expect


Arpad I recommend Aitmatov, a Kyrgiz writer who wrote in Russian as well.

Farewell Gul'sary

From Bulgakov I prefer the Heart of a Dog


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