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!

Saturday, February 26, 2011

I'm back!

Sorry about the hiatus everyone, I was actually seriously ill (heh!) and had to spend some time in hospital -- both experiences truly new and exciting for me :-) Now I'm back albeit facing a major surgery some time in the future (heh again) but in the meantime, I'll try to be as busy as possible.

Browsed Amazon yesterday in search for some title inspiration for my baby book -- no luck, but I did brainstorm it myself in the end, and I love it (the title and the book). But in doing so, I got constantly sidetracked reading reviews for some great Russian books and movies, so I think I'll post a few links here, starting today.

Here's one recent Russian film that very few Western viewers know about, which is a shame because it's a true flippin' masterpiece. Although the subject matter is religion, I was happy to discover that even atheist reviewers loved it -- in fact, not a single negative review overall. Rightly so, because Ostrov (The Island), directed by Pavel Lungin and starring some of Russia's finest actors, including the tragic Pyotr Mamonov (a rock star-turned-practicing Orthodox Christian), is a perfect artistic and philosophical experience. I'm not telling you what it's about, go and watch it yourselves! Here's the link to its Amazon page, five-star reviews and all: