Monday, 5 June 2017

#WorldReads - five books from Russia

If this is your first visit to my WorldReads blog series, the idea of the posts is to encourage and promote the reading of global literature. On the 5th of each month I highlight five books I have read from a particular country and you can see links to previous countries' posts at the end of this post.

This month's country is Russia! I didn't realise until I was putting the post together that all the authors are male. Usually I try to feature male and female writers so my apologies for this. I will redress the balance with an all female list for July's post!

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

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Read my original book review on Stephanie Jane

Tagged with "one of the greatest love stories ever told", I was misled into expecting this book to be more romance than history. Perhaps worded as a result of the film version, the novel itself is far more. Set during the Russian Revolution(s), we follow the life of a young doctor as he and his wife attempt to keep their family together amid intense turmoil. I loved Pasternak's descriptions of Russia, both the land and her people, and for me, this was the 'great love' of the novel.

The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

Originally written in the Soviet Union between 1927 and 1940, but not published until 1967, the story of the book's existence and Bulgakov's life is interesting in itself. Plus it might be the most fantastical novel I ever read! Sharp political satire on one level and amazing storytelling on another. A deserved classic.

The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I wasn't surprised to learn that Dostoyevsky had a gambling problem himself because his insight into his narrator, Alexey's, compulsive behaviour is wonderfully realistic. Apparently this novella was written in great haste because the profits from its publication were needed to settle gambling debts! Dostoyevsky has created an interesting story of selfish, back-stabbing people all unashamedly out to gain as much of each other's fortunes as they can.

Yevgeny Onegin by Alexander Pushkin

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I haven't read any other translations of Alexander Pushkin's famous poem Yevgeny Onegin so cannot comment on how Anthony Briggs' new translation differs, but I was surprised at how readable he has rendered the poem. I admit I had been putting off, expecting something quite impenetrable so was pleased to find myself actually enjoying the story and the humour. I particularly loved the descriptive passages which vividly paint snowy Russian villages, exciting sleigh rides and a wonderful ball.

One-Two by Igor Eliseev

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Read my original book review on Literary Flits

I was introduced to this novel set in Perestroika Russia when it was Guest Reviewed for Literary Flits. This is the most recent of my Russian Five having been published just last year. A tale of conjoined twins, Faith and Hope, the story depicts their life from the time they are sent to an orphanage and it's not a happy tale, but is rewarding to read.

That's it for June's WorldReads from Russia. I hope I have tempted you to try reading a book from this country and if you want more suggestions, click through to see all my Literary Flits reviews of Russian-authored books! Please do Comment your own favourite Russian books below and if you fancy buying any of the five I have suggested, clicking through the links from this blog to do so would mean I earn a small commission payment.

You can join in my WorldReads Challenge at any time! Simply read 1 or more books from a different country each month, write a post about it/them, grab the button below and add it to your post. Don't forget to pop back here and Comment your link so I can visit!

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If you missed any earlier WorldReads posts, we have already 'visited' Australia, Canada, France, Germany, India, Ireland, ItalyNew ZealandNigeria, South AfricaSpain, Sweden and Turkey.

In July I will be highlighting five books by American authors. See you on the 5th to find out which ones!


  1. Wow, girl. Your reading chops are A+. Kudos!

  2. I love Russian literature... I have a Russian language degree. The Master and Margarita is awesome!! I need to reread it.

    1. I loved Heart Of A Dog by Bulgakov too. Brilliant storytelling!