A Double Life Karolina Pavlova Although of course Russian literature is the best literature, or something like that, it does have a significant flaw, which is the dearth of female authors, especially from the Golden Age when Pushkin and his Pleiad were writing. Some have claimed that the brilliance of Karolina Pavlova makes up for […]Read more "“A Double Life” by Karolina Pavlova"
A Hero of Our Time Mikhail Lermontov The first thing I ever read in Russian that was an actual piece of text and not an example sentence was a story about a young Russian officer who ends up amongst a household of smugglers and gets tricked by a pretty girl who, it turns out, is […]Read more "“A Hero of Our Time” by Mikhail Lermontov"
The Living Corpse Leo Tolstoy In 1900, more than 20 years after finishing his masterpiece “Anna Karenina,” Tolstoy returned to a character named Karenin in a troubled marriage, although this Karenin seems to have no blood relation to the original. Still, it’s a fascinating indication that, for all the dislike he felt for the novel […]Read more "“The Living Corpse” by Leo Tolstoy"
Cross of Iron Willi Heinrich I have to admit that I read this book a long time ago, so perhaps it isn’t as good as I remember. But as I remember, it is incredible, a true classic of combat writing, so I thought I’d write a review of it for German Literature Month 2017. […]Read more "“Cross of Iron” by Willi Heinrich for #GermanLiteratureMonth"
Prisoner of the Caucasus Leo Tolstoy I have, for my sins, agreed to write up an entry on Christian-Muslim relations in Tolstoy for the University of Birmingham’s project on Christian-Muslim relations in literature. I say “for my sins” because Tolstoy suffered from acute graphomania throughout his long life, and the disease must be contagious, because […]Read more "“Prisoner of the Caucasus” by Leo Tolstoy"
In this collection of tales, in turns lyrical and brutal, Oleg Ermakov, probably Russia’s foremost writer on the Soviet war in Afghanistan, depicts the war from multiple points of view: a boy on a date a couple of days before he heads off to basic training, a raw recruit forced to commit an act he […]Read more "“Afghan Tales” by Oleg Yermakov"
What a fabulous find! I’d never read any Estonian literature before encountering this book, so naturally I jumped at the chance. It’s the late 1690s, and Laurentius Hylas, accompanied only by his parakeet Clodia, has come from Lieden, where he ran into trouble at the university there for his unusual views, to the University of […]Read more "“The Willow King” by Meelis Friedenthal, trans. Matthew Hyde"