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.

AnneWentworth Sun 12-Jan-14 17:14:41

Resurrecting my own thread. Adding The Foundation Pit by Andrey Platonov - just brilliant.

bemybebe Tue 01-Oct-13 02:53:45

ah, and The Bison: A Novel about the Scientist Who Defied Stalin by Granin

bemybebe Tue 01-Oct-13 02:49:02

The Kolyma Tales by Varlam Shalamov
Master and Margarita is a must

BelleOfTheBorstal Tue 01-Oct-13 02:35:04

Edward Docx Self-Help. Fabulous book.

elkiedee Tue 01-Oct-13 02:10:30

Vasily Grossman's Life and Fate - set during WWII but about that and so much more

Victor Serge's memoir and his novels - several have been reprinted by NYRB recently

Helen Dunmore, The Siege is a great historical novel, but the first two were actually there observing what they wrote about. Sarah Quigley's The Conductor is another take on the Siege of Leningrad.

Pennyink Tue 10-Sep-13 09:29:33

Thank you! I read it before we got together and loved it!

CircassianLeyla Mon 09-Sep-13 22:46:48

Ohhhh how exciting. Will definitely give that a go.

Pennyink Mon 09-Sep-13 22:38:43

If you like books on Russia, try my partner's new novel, Devil's Acre by Jonathan Bastable. He's a Russophile and writer (he was a correspondent in Moscow for the Sunday Times) during The Yeltsin years. He got me to read The Master and Margarita within weeks of our meeting...

amzn.to/14nHsz0

It's part love-story/part history. Currently on Kindle but should be out in paperback/on the iPad soon. Be so great to know what the mumsnetting Russian-novel readers think!

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

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

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

More suggestions thank you.

Have NC but great to see more ideas.

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.

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

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!

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.

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.

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.

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 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.

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 .

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

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

The First Circle by Alexander Solzhenitsyn

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

The Beginning of Spring, Penelope Fitzgerald.

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

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

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

... if you tire of the classics.

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.

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