Russian Literature

I am an eclectic reader. Hopefully my varied reading experiences will prove beneficial to my own writing endeavours (3 novels to date). This week’s blog post is dedicated to the Russian literature that I have read. The following 6 books are presented in chronological order. Click on the links to read my reviews.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy (1877)

Anna Karenina

Tolstoy’s opus is set against a backdrop of the emancipation of the serfs, the Pan Slavism movement, political change and technological advancement. The story follows three interrelated families — the Oblonskys, Levins and Karenins. Divided into 8 parts, this eight hundred plus-page classic…(more)

My Rating: Good


The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1880) 

The Brothers Karamazov

Landowner and unapologetic voluptuary Fyodor Pavlovich is the neglectful father of three very different sons. There is the intellectual atheist Ivan, the self-destructive, amoral, passionate and guilt-ridden Mitya, and the youngest, Alyosha, a deeply spiritual and modest individual, who resonates…(more)

My Rating: Turgid


My Childhood by Maxim Gorky (1915)

My Childhood

My Childhood is the first volume of Russian author Maxim Gorky’s autobiographical trilogy. The book begins with the young Maxim viewing the dead body of his father, who has just died of cholera. axim is then sent to live with his grandparents. With an errant mother, abusive grandfather and quarrelling uncles…(more)

My Rating: Average


Novel with Cocaine by M. Ageyev (1934)

Novel with Cocaine

Set in the years immediately before and after the Russian Revolution, Novel with Cocaine follows the life of Vadim, a Moscow adolescent and student. Vadim is prone to self-loathing and disdainful of others, none more so than his mother, whose aged appearance and shabby clothes he finds acutely…(more)

My Rating: Good


One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1962)

One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich

Ivan Denisovich Shukhov is a former POW serving a 10 year term in a Gulag on the Kazakh steppe for being a spy. He is innocent. The book chronicles a single day of his existence, beginning with a 5 a.m. reveille. Our protagonist, having been deemed not to have risen from bed on time…(more)

My Rating: Excellent


Cancer Ward by Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn (1968)

Cancer Ward

Oleg Kostoglotov, whose last name translates as ‘bone-chewer’, has been exiled in perpetuity to a village by the name of Ush-Terek, located on the steppe in Kazakhstan, a long way from home. Kostoglotov’s bad luck does not end there. Suffering from stomach cancer, he arrives at the cancer hospital in Tashkent…(more)

My Rating: Good


I look forward to reading some Gogol, Chekhov and Pushkin in the not too distant future.



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  • You’ve definitely got eclectic tastes Guy. I find that these days I’m reluctant to stray from my favourite genres too much. I’m such a slow reader so I’d rather spend time reading books that I know I will probably enjoy.

    • Fair enough Heather, I can appreciate that. In the not too distant future I am going to focus more on my ‘brand’ (yet to be fully identified). I will probably gear my reading towards that with some non-fiction stuff here and there for a change of scene.

  • An eclectic selection of Russian literature. A harsh but accurate rating for The Brothers Karamazov but I still think it’s great, as is One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. I need to read Pushkin too.

    • I am pleased I read The Brothers Karamazov. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich is one of the best books that I’ve ever read. Thanks for dropping by.

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