I just started the audiobook this week, and I'm reading chapter summaries online as I go, in hopes of keeping track of who's who. It's daunting in that everyone always goes on and on about how voluminous it is - the audiobook is just over 61 hours - and how many characters there are and how similar all the names are. But then I looked back and noted that I listened to the entire Century Trilogy by Ken Follett, and that was about 100 hours combined, so this should be a piece of cake. LOL. And I have the internet to help me keep everyone organized. Anyone else read it? Have any tips or thoughts? I don't care about spoilers; I have a basic understanding of what happens in the book anyway. Did you enjoy it, or was it a slog?
I've also recently listened to Crime and Punishment and Anna Karenina, and was pleasantly surprised by how much I enjoyed them. C&P less so, because the main character reminded me a bit of a grown up Holden Caulfield, and I hated Catcher in the Rye. Anna Karenina sort of felt like two books, one an Austen novel full of romance and tragedy and the other a philosophical treatise on Russian life, but the writing was beautiful all around, and I enjoyed all of it so much. Maggie Gylenhall narrated the version I listened to, and she was brilliant.
Also, I read Lolita a while back and despite the utterly repulsive subject matter, I really loved the book. I heard that Dostoevsky wrote it in English, which was like his 5th language, and it was just beautifully written. Which maybe makes me appreciate it more, that he could make such horrifying content into such a beautiful piece of work. I listened to this too, and Jeremy Irons, who has portrayed Humbert in films, was the narrator, which I think contributed a lot.
I'm not sure what has drawn me to Russian lit lately (or why I only seem to want to listen to it). Maybe it's just that these are some of the giants of classic literature, and I like the challenge. Either way, just wondering if anyone has read or is interested, because it's on my mind. Any others you'd recommend, or recommend against?
Post by dearprudence on Nov 16, 2022 15:33:45 GMT -5
I adore Russian lit and prefer Dostoevsky to Tolstoy so I very much preferred Crime and Punishment to Anna Karenina. (And War and Peace isn't a favorite)
My all-time favorite is Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" which plays on the idea of "what if Jesus had shown up in 19th century Russia." I recently read "The Family Chao" which is a Brothers Karamzov retelling so that one is pretty fresh in my head.
Gogol's Dead Souls is wonderful. Chekhov was a genius and I can't recommend one play over another of his. If you enjoyed the movie Amadeus, I'd suggest reading the original play by Pushkin - Mozart and Salieri.
I'm way late to this thread, but I read a paper copy of War and Peace many years ago and I kept a written list of characters, name variations (at the time I didn't know much about Russian endearments), and on what page a character was introduced so I could go back for more info if I needed it. It was definitely complicated! But I enjoyed the story up until the end when Tolstoy stopped telling a story and started philosophizing.
In terms of more modern Russian stories, Katherine Arden's Winternight trilogy starting with The Bear and the Nightingale is excellent (and a lot less sexist than some of the older classics). I listened to them on audiobook and was able to keep track of characters.