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Contemporary authors

Fans of Russian authors

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1nathb
Nov 4, 2006, 9:52am Top

Any contemporary Russian authors that you would recommend?

2GlebtheDancer
Nov 5, 2006, 7:24am Top

I have just read Victor pelevin's The Helmet of Horror, which was interesting. He is usually listed as sci-fi, but is really a post-modern writer who uses sci-fi concepts. I liked it enough to try some more in the future.
You should check out the 'Branching Out' thread. Not all of the books are contemporary, but there are some nice recommendations there.

3nathb
Nov 5, 2006, 8:14am Top

Thanks a lot for the thread. That's a few more on my reading list! I actually recently fished out a list of 49 'must-read' Russian novels from an Ideal Library book I bought years ago back in France, and some of the books recommended on the thread are also listed in it. The book is quite old, though, so there was nothing on contemporary writers. I also bought a couple of ((Pelevin))'s novels but haven't got round reading them yet.

4GlebtheDancer
Edited: Nov 8, 2006, 6:39am Top

Hi nathb,
I had a look at your library and noticed that you have Platonov's Soul. Its been on my 'vaguely-intending-to-read-list' for a while now. Would you recommend that I bump it up to my 'almost-certainly-going-to-read-list' or even (gulp) my 'definitely-going-to read-very-soon-list'?

5nathb
Edited: Nov 15, 2006, 5:12am Top

Hi depressaholic,
I've just had a look at your library too (puts my own to shame - I must work on it over the next few days) and, as we seem to have quite a few books in common, yes, I would recommend Soul. I loved it. If you do read it, let me know what you think. My library has a collected works of sorts which I intend to reserve shortly.
On matters Russian, I got Moscow Stations by Venedikt Yerofeev and Don't Die Before You're Dead by Yevgeny Yevtushenko. Ever read the Yevtushenko?

6GlebtheDancer
Edited: Nov 7, 2006, 6:16am Top

I have only read what is in my library, and have to confess knowing nothing about Yevtushenko. Another name for my list. Actually my Russian 'to read' list is quite small now, consisting of a couple of Tolstoys and the Platonov you recommend, so let me know how you get on with Yevtushenko.

I realise that recommending is much quicker than reading, so I'll stop soon, but I would also like to point you in the direction of Hamid Ismailov's The Railway. He is not Russian, but Uzbek, and The Railway is a tragicomic history of a soviet century in Uzbekistan. It contrasts with the soviet stuff from Russia because the fear of the state is much more remote, which makes periods like the Stalinist era look more absurd than frightening. Its good stuff anyway.

7nathb
Nov 7, 2006, 6:31am Top

Are you kidding? Keep them coming!
If you are interested in Central Asian literature, I would recommend (The Day Lasts a Hundred Years) by ((Chingiz Aitmatov)). From what you are saying about the Railway, they seem to be coming from a similar angle.
Thanks again.

8xkyzero
Nov 7, 2006, 9:35am Top

I enjoy Yevtushenko though he seems to get a bad rap at times. Wild Berries is his only novel I've read but I really like his poetry.

Someone else metioned The Burn by Aksyonov - probably my favorite Russian novel.

9lvwoolf
Nov 7, 2006, 7:49pm Top

Love reading Russian lit - and have listed VERY little of my collection - but I seem to never get to contemporary authors. Have toted The Burn (and Generations of Winter AND Winter's Hero) around forever. Have you read anything other than The Burn? Maybe I need to pick it up. Am in between books.

10nathb
Nov 8, 2006, 5:15am Top

I started the Yevtushenko yesterday and I am already looking forward to getting back to it later on.
I have also seen The Burn mentioned a few times, so that's another one on my reading list.
Andrey Kurkov is worth checking out in my opinion.
Boris Akunin is another novelist who is getting good reviews. I have read The Winter Queen but I can't say that I really liked it. He could be worth checking out too though.

11xkyzero
Nov 8, 2006, 10:38am Top

- lvwoolf

I have read Aksyonov's The Destruction of Pompeii: And Other Stories and Generations of Winter. Really liked his short stories. They are more inline with earlier satirical/youth-prose style works like The Burn. Generations of Winter is more of a Tolstoyish type epic.

12avaland
Nov 14, 2006, 2:04pm Top

I heartily recommend any of Victor Pelevin's satirical novels. I'm particularly fond of The Life of Insects but my husband seems to prefer Homo Zapiens. Of course, I'm not a serious student of Russian history or culture, so I'm sure my understanding of everything he's satirizing is limited.

I also read The Winter Queen and liked it but didn't continue on with the series. We also have Night Watch by Lukhanenko, but having seen the movie first, I wonder if I'll pick that up now...

13nathb
Edited: Nov 15, 2006, 5:13am Top

I can now recommend Don't Die Before You're Dead by Yevgeny Yevtushenko! Yevtushenko was in the White House in Moscow during the August 1991 coup and part of his novel deals with the events that took place on what he calls "the day for overcoming fear". It's much more than this though. Through his personal recollections and experiences and his rich cast of characters (both fictional and real) and the diversity of their personal stories, Yevtushenko gives a multi-faceted account of most of the history of the USSR. Doing this, he explains why, on 19 August 1991, "the country was divided into three countries. One was frightened and wanted to return to yesterday. The second did not yet know what tomorrow would be like, but did not want to return to yesterday. The third was waiting." His tone is as varied as his characters, ranging from the comic to the tragic and all in between. A very good book, despite some slightly over-long chapters.

14GlebtheDancer
Edited: Nov 16, 2006, 5:55am Top

Nathb,
Cheers for that. I have bought the Aitmatov and Platonov you talked about, but they have gone on a very large pile of non-Russian reading (is it okay to admit to reading other stuff in front of this group?). Yevtushenko will have to wait until after Christmas. I'll eventually let you know what I think of them all.

15distelvogel
Jun 5, 2007, 8:50pm Top

I think Tatyana Tolstaya was unfairly left out in this conversation. In my opinion her postmodern dystopia The slynx has literary merit.

16prezzey
Jun 12, 2007, 3:02am Top

distelvogel:
it's cool you mention just that; I've bought that book recently and I've been meaning to read it (the only problem is that I've left it in Budapest while right now I'm in Vienna - the disadvantages of having your physical library in 3 different locations, sigh!).

An other female author I like is Ludmila Ulitskaya - I think my favorite work of hers is The Funeral Party.

17bostonbibliophile
Nov 1, 2007, 8:39pm Top

I really like Vladimir Voinovich- at least Monumental Propaganda was one of my favorite books of 2006. A great satire.

18john257hopper
Nov 2, 2007, 8:57am Top

#17: what do you think of his Moscow 2042? I have bought it as I was attracted by the concept, but have not yet read it.

John

19sean2euro
Nov 11, 2007, 3:31pm Top

i read Andrey Kurkov's Death and the Penguin and loved it. i bought the sequalPenguin lost a few days ago, i've heard some bad things about it online but will make upmy own mind, also i'm mad to know what happpened next so i dont think i'll be too disapointed

20bostonbibliophile
Dec 23, 2007, 10:46am Top

#18:
haven't read it- but i will :-) thanks for the tip!

21anisoara
Feb 12, 2008, 12:30pm Top

I have really liked the work of Yuri Buida, i.e. Zero Train and The Prussian Bride, the latter being a collection of short stories. Also Dmitry Bakin's Reasons for Living, another short story collection. Both writers stretch boundaries, which I appreciate.

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