The Best Russian Books in English

Forget War and Peace: this blog offers reviews of fun and interesting Russian books in English, links to their Amazon pages, interviews with new and upcoming Russian authors, with the emphasis on Russian genre fiction: LitRPG, science fiction, fantasy, thrillers, romance, mystery and other popular reads.

Sunday, February 27, 2011

About Ignat Avsey, the best translator of Dostoevsky

I continue sharing the Russian links I've unearthed while rummaging through Amazon pages. My favorite Dostoevsky's novel is undoubtedly The Village of Stepanchikovo And its Inhabitants(especially considering the fact that I personally know someone who is an exact copy of the novel's main character, Foma Opiskin -- just in case you wondered if surreal creatures like him did exist in real life: I swear to you they do).

And my favorite translator of Dostoevsky -- in fact, the only true translator of Dostoevsky -- is British scholar Ignat Avsey. It is incredible how he grasped the supposedly "untranslatable" vulnerability of Dostoevsky's voice. I just hope Mr Avsey perseveres with his brilliant work and translates the whole body of Dostoevsky's writings (and yes, that does include A Writer's Diary-- a decades-long collection of literary-journal entries which actually qualifies Dostoevsky to be called the first blogger on planet Earth, an almost hundred and fifty years before the invention of the Internet).

So below is the link to The Village of Stepanchikovo and its Inhabitants, a short-and-sweet tragicomic reading, so unlike Dostoevsky's other novels. Highly recommended!


  1. The book looks fascinating. I love Dostoyevsky but I have not even heard of this novel. I will have to read it. Thank you.

    And I love that phrase, "The supposedly 'untranslatable' vulnerability of Dostoyevsky's voice. It makes me want to read and reread him.

  2. Oh, thank you so much! Some people find Dostoevsky "disturbing" but for me, he's the most positive and optimistic writer that's ever lived. And this novel is great fun and a very pleasurable read.