Russian literature or books based in Russia

(58 Posts)
mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 07-Jun-13 18:07:35

I have a particular course of study coming up in Russian history from about 1891-1991. The lecturer in the past has referred to works of literature to illustrate points, so Madame Bovary for example to illustrate French provincial life, The Leopard to depict the Italian nobility at unification.

The only thing that has sprung to mind is Doctor Zchivago, which I have read before but could probably re-read.

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland Fri 07-Jun-13 21:55:41

How about some of Irina Ratushinskaya's poetry? Obviously she's near the end of your time span (I think she was released from prison in the late 1980s) but it might be something to add to the list.

Her autobiography Grey is the Colour of Hope is incredibly moving. I went to a bookshop event when this was published, will never forget the elderly ex-pat Russian couple who said they'd kept a candle burning for her for the 4 years she was in prison. They couldn't afford to buy her book, just wanted to see her, but the lovely bookshop owner gave them a copy smile

BooksandaCuppa Fri 07-Jun-13 21:57:35

I remember The Love of Worker Bees by Alexandra Kollontai - a piece about women of all different walks of life in the 1920s by a member of Lenin's government - as being quite compelling.

IKnowWhat Fri 07-Jun-13 22:30:44

I love Wild Berries by Yevtushenko. It is brilliant.
I have watched and enjoyed Chekhov plays at the theatre but I don't think I would like to read it. I think I would find it too heavy going. blush

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 07-Jun-13 22:34:33

MiddleAgeMiddleEngland that is so lovely.

I am so delighted with all if your suggestion. It has warranted a whole new wish list and I already have 12!

IKnowWhat Fri 07-Jun-13 22:34:49

Umm, sorry about the crappy English in my post. I meant to say I think I would find Chekhov plays hard going if I had to read them

<<light weight emoticon>>

tripfiction Sat 08-Jun-13 11:30:59

These are the books we have brought together for novels set in Russia. You can drill down further to access historical only if you want. Hope that helps
http://www.tripfiction.com/Search?Location=Russia

exexpat Sat 08-Jun-13 11:38:48

Can I recommend The Industry of Souls by Martin Booth? Brilliant writer, brilliant book.

Also, here's a clickable version of tripfiction's link, as there are a few interesting ones on that list: www.tripfiction.com/Search?Location=Russia

mixedmamameansbusiness Sat 08-Jun-13 12:46:45

Thank you TripFiction and exexpat.

Now just working out how to purchase and sneak them into my bookshelves without DH noticing.

Sunnymeg Sat 08-Jun-13 13:13:05

The Bronze Horseman, by Paulinna Simons also set during the second world war. Unfortunately it does go a bit Mills and Boon in the middle. There
are also two sequels, but they are not as good as the first one.

CoteDAzur Sat 08-Jun-13 14:06:12

We The Living - Ayn Rand
Child 44 - Tom Rob Smith

... if you tire of the classics.

Or The People's Act of Love by James Meek.

ShinyPenny Mon 10-Jun-13 18:28:53

The Beginning of Spring, Penelope Fitzgerald.

ellesabe Sun 23-Jun-13 20:18:08

The First Circle by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

Waferthinmint Thu 27-Jun-13 21:40:31

Personally I would read actually history books eg: Natasha's dance for Russian culture. And the whisperers the everyday lives of people under Stalin

travellingwilbury Thu 27-Jun-13 21:53:12

A second for cancer ward , it is a brilliant read , not massively cheerful of course but I doubt many Russian novels are .

mixedmamameansbusiness Fri 28-Jun-13 12:24:29

Natasha's dance and theWhisperers are already on the list and I own them since he is actually my lecturer but I want some background literature a. Because I am addicted to reading so it may as well be something relevant and b. because literature is often referred to in passing etc and I would like to be more clued up and c. One of my goals this year is to read more Russian lit.

Waferthinmint Sat 29-Jun-13 15:54:31

Orlando Figes is your lecturer? I am seriously jealous! I teach a lot of Russian history in school and would love to meet him.

mixedmamameansbusiness Sat 29-Jun-13 19:08:43

Yes, he is. I consider myself very lucky. Where in the country are you based? If you are in London he does an insane amount if book promotion talks. I often pop along, DH calls me a groupie.

Clawdy Sun 30-Jun-13 16:45:02

Hero Of Our Time - Mikhail Lermontov. Our bookgroup read it last month,and most of us loved it.

Solnushka Mon 01-Jul-13 00:31:12

Is just books you want to get up on? Because this is very interesting about the development of rock music in the Soviet Union: http://www.amazon.co.uk/Back-USSR-True-Story-Russia/dp/0571129978

I'd add Twelve Chairs and sequel to the literature list. Russians quote it a lot. Well, my husband quotes it a lot (he's Russian). From this, and because it is cynically witty about people, I think of it as a sort of Catch 22 sort of thing. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/The_Twelve_Chairs

From about the same time, I remember this collection as being a really interesting one because it's mostly about the lives of ordinary people: http://www.amazon.com/The-Galosh-And-Other-Stories/dp/1590202112

Zamyatin's Si Fi dystopia book We, does Brave New World before BNW and got banned: ihttp://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Yevgeny_Zamyatin

I sixteenth Master and Margarita cos it's fab. I think Russians might know Heart of a Dog better, because it got made into a well known film.

You probably ought to have a look at Pushkin too. Way before time, but still hugely influential. The good news is he also wrote dirty limericks.

Anyway, also very jealous about you having Orlando Figes as a lecturer - Natasha's Dance in particular is very very good.

mixedmamameansbusiness Mon 01-Jul-13 07:27:00

Thanks for more suggestions ... So exciting.

Whatever happens it looks like I will be reading the Master and Margarita!

tripfiction Thu 05-Sep-13 20:10:50

Have just read a terrific novel set in 1920s Russia 'Red Winter' by Dan Smith tripfiction.blogspot.co.uk/2013/09/Novel-set-in-revolutionary-Russia.html

Sharpkat Thu 05-Sep-13 20:16:51

A contemporary and easy read - A week like any other - Nataliya Baranskaya.

If you cannot find a copy I would be happy to dig mine out.

CircassianLeyla Sun 08-Sep-13 21:31:03

More suggestions thank you.

Have NC but great to see more ideas.

CircassianLeyla Sun 08-Sep-13 21:31:50

Actually just about to start Blood Red, Snow White. Has anyone read it?

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