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The Village (Oneworld Classics) by Ivan…

The Village (Oneworld Classics) (1910)

by Ivan Alekseevich Bunin

Other authors: Thomas Grob (Editor), Dorothea Trottenberg (Translator)

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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Although only a short read (135 p.) I found it hard to plough through this one. There's no real plotline, rather it's a snapshot of brutal rural Russian life in the lead-up to the Revolution. The cold and the hunger; the ignorant and superstitious conversations of the peasants; the landowners starting to be afraid of their workers...

Certainly the descriptions bring this era to life:
'After the blizzards, harsh winds blew across the hardened, grey, icy crust on the fields and tore away the last brown leaves from the shelterless oak thickets in the gullies...icy, slippery mounds grew up around the ice holes; paths were trampled through the snowdrifts- and the humdrum life of winter set in. Epidemics began in the village: smallpox, fever, scarlatina...Around the ice holes from which the whole of Durnovka drank, above the stinking, dark, bottle-coloured water, peasant women stood for days on end, bent over and with their skirts tucked up above their grey-blue, bare knees...It was getting dark at three o'clock, and shaggy dogs sat on roofs that were almost the same level as the snowdrifts.'

Sometimes our lead characters -two brothers in their fifties- muse on the meaning of life:
'My life ought to be described. But what was there to describe? Nothing. Nothing or nothing worthwhile. After all, he himself remembered almost nothing of that life. He'd completely forgotten his childhood, for example; just from time to time some summer's day would come to him, some episode...Ask him now: do you remember your mother? - and he'd reply: I remember some bent old woman...she dried dung, stoked the stove, drank in secret, grumbled...And nothing more.'

Perhaps should be evaluated more as a piece of poetry in prose form than a narrative ( )
  starbox | Jan 10, 2013 |
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» Add other authors (2 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Ivan Alekseevich Buninprimary authorall editionscalculated
Grob, ThomasEditorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Trottenberg, DorotheaTranslatorsecondary authorall editionsconfirmed
Alpin, GalyaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Aplin, HughTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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The Krasovs' great-grandfather, nicknamed Gypsy by the servants, had borzoi hounds set on him by his master, Durnovo.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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