Twentieth-Century Russian Novels

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Twentieth-Century Russian Novels

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Editado: Set 14, 2010, 2:28am

The theme for September 2010 at the Reading Globally Group is 20th-Century Russian Fiction. The theme post is "Russian Fiction, 20th Century (September 2010 Read!)". Full of info.

It contains a list of novels which I am copying here, thus:

1. Gulag Archipelago, Solzhenitsyn, 1973
2. Dr. Zhivago, Pasternak, 1957
3. Petersburg, Bely, 1913
4. Master & Margarita, Bulgakov, 1935
5. Nervous People and Other Satires, Zoschenko, 1950
6. We, Zamyatin, 1925
7. A Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich, Solzhenitsyn, 1962
8. Life and Fate, Grossman, 1960
10. Invitation to a Beheading, Nabokov, 1936
11. Life of Insects, Pelevin, 1993
12. Funeral Party, Ulitskaya, 1997
13. Mother, Gorky, 1907
14. Foundation Pit, Platonov, 1932
15. Life & Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin, Voinovich, 1975
16. Red Cavalry, Babel, 1944
17. The Village, Bunin, 1910
18. Heart of a Dog, Bulgakov, 1925
19. Petty Demon, Sologub, 1902
20. Cancer Ward, Solzhenitsyn, 1968
21. Pushkin House, Bitov, 1978
22. School for Fools, Sokolov, 1988
23. Yama, The Pit, Kuprin, 1915
24. Russian Beauty, Erofeyev, 1979
25. Cities and Years, Fedin, 1924
26. The Slynx, Tolstaya, 1998
27. The Time: Night, Petrushevskaya, 1992
28. Envy, Olesha, 1927
29. Generations of Winter, Aksyonov, 1992
30. Compromise, Dovlatov, 1990
31. Two Captains, Kaverin, 1950
32. Fifth Seal, Aldanov, 1943
33. Faculty of Useless Knowledge, Dombrovsky, 1978
34. Yawning Heights, Zinoviev, 1976
35. Sofia Petrovna, Chukovskaya, 1944

Hat tip to shawnd who put together this list and many other learned and entertaining comments on the aforementioned thread.

Set 13, 2010, 4:46pm

A lot of great books on that list. I have had a hard time finding contemporary Russian writers that I really enjoy, I noticed many of the books on that list are older. The most recent book I've read, on that list, is Voinovich's The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin. I have read some Pelevin but not the book listed...oh wait! I did read The Slynx by Tolstaya but I can't say it did a whole lot for me. I'll have to add some of those books to my 'wishlist'.

Set 16, 2010, 7:00am

#2 LisaStens - Voinovich's The Life and Extraordinary Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin.

Have you read the sequel: Pretender to the Throne: The Further Adventures of Private Ivan Chonkin? I plan to read it in the coming weeks.

Set 16, 2010, 7:50am

>1 anthonywillard:

Great list - very helpful. Thankyou!

Set 16, 2010, 8:42am

>pgmcc - Yes, I have read it and it is just as brilliant as the first. Apparently, there is a third novel in the series, "Displaced Person", published in 2007 but I can't find proof of it's existence anywhere other than Voinovich's wiki page.

Set 16, 2010, 9:09am

#5 LisaStens

I really enjoyed the first one and have just re-read it for the Reading Globaly Group theme mentioned by anthonywillard in #1.

The thought of a third Ivan Chonkin is interesting. I will try to track it down too, and will let you know if I have any success.

Thank you!


Set 16, 2010, 10:56am

I have to add Voinovich's Monumental Propaganda as well. Loved it!

Set 16, 2010, 11:20am

Last year I read and enjoyed Moscow Circles (also known as Moscow to the End of the Line) by Benedict Erofeev.

Set 16, 2010, 3:52pm

>bostonbibliophile ~ Yes! Monumental Propaganda was another winner by Voinovich. He really has become one of my all time favorite Russian authors, Soviet era or not. Fur Hat is another of his works that is well worth a read.

>rocketjk ~ I've had that book on my amazon wishlist for awhile but always end up buying something else when the time comes. Now that I have a recommendation, I'll have to be sure to actually order it next time.

Editado: Jan 10, 2011, 1:19pm

Have you tried Skunk a Life by Peter Aleshkovsky? It seems to me to be in the longer tradition of Russian literature celebrating the healing powers and sanctuary of the forest but put into the context of post-Soviet Russia thus providing interesting commentary on contemporary Russian society. I also found The Dream Life of Sukhanov by Olga Grushin a good read that provides a commentary on contemporary Russian society. The plot concerns an apparatchik editor of a Soviet arts magazine whose personal and professional life are travelling through difficult times just as the attempts at reforming the Soviet system are taking place. Rather obvious parallels between personal and political break up but a good book nevertheless.

Abr 15, 2011, 1:01pm

The Guardian newspaper has reached Russia on its World Literature Tour. See link below which will be of interest.

Maio 16, 2011, 10:33pm

Many great ones listed already, but I'd like to add Voinovich's Moscow 2042, Zoshchenko's Scenes from the Bathhouse, and Ilf & Petrov's The Twelve Chairs.

And, here's a pop-culture tidbit: Vasili Zaitsev, the Soviet sniper mentioned in Grossman's Life & Fate, is featured in the movie Enemy at the Gates (played by Jude Law). :o)

Maio 22, 2011, 8:57am

There is a sequel of sorts to Twelve Chairs called The Golden Calf that is also well worth reading.

Maio 22, 2011, 11:20am

The movie "Enemy at the Gates" is excellent for its dramatization of the battle of Stalingrad and the life of a sniper. I never thought about it being the same person, though. Life and Fate is one of my favorite books of all time.

I can also recommend Grossman's other work, especially Everything Flows and the essay "The Hell of Treblinka" in The Road, and I've recently been reading Platonov Soul and Other Stories and am looking forward to reading The Foundation Pit soon. Victor Serge is also excellent, especially The Case of Comrade Tulayev, but also Conquered City and Unforgiving Years.

Maio 22, 2011, 11:39am

Rebecca, I just finished reading Midnight in the Century by Victor Serge and loved it. I find his perspective, that of a loyal communist disappointed and horrified by what his dream has become to be particularly poignant.

Maio 22, 2011, 12:38pm

I don't know that one, Lisa. I'll have to look for it.

Abr 18, 2012, 9:28pm

I thought I would never find a 20th century Russian author as good as the 19th century authors such as Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky. Then I discovered Dr Zhivago by Pasternack. I have read it twice, and it meets all my expectations of classical literature. I don't count Nabokov as a Russian since, particularly Lolita, he is more American than Russian.

Nov 3, 2012, 1:29pm

Gaito Gazdanov (originally from Ossetia) is one of the great emigre writers who is being rediscovered.

Gazdanov was discovered, rather than resdiscovered, in Russia in the 90s because, as an emigre, his work really hadn't been available before then.

Gazdanov is starting to get translated into English now. Although some of his work is available in what are probably dated translations - they are old. I haven't read any so can't vouch for them.

Night Roads, translated by Justin Doherty, was published by Northwestern University Press in 2009.

And I suspect there will be more of Gazdanov's work forthcoming in new English translations.

Nov 3, 2012, 11:17pm

Fans of crime novels might like Death and the Penguin and others in the Penguin series by Andrey Kurkov. I also enjoyed the Night Watch series by Sergei Lukyanenko.

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