“On the Radar” provides small incidental rundowns on books which I’ve discovered, but haven’t yet purchased. These are titles that I’ve either added to my wishlist or am keeping a close eye on, with a view to adding them. In addition, these are books which I feel may be of some interest to fellow readers, and I welcome feedback as always, on your own opinions and thoughts on the listed titles – especially if you’ve already had the pleasure of reading them.
It’s funny how on the Internet one thing leads to another. There I am being entertained by a post on the Caustic Cover Critic, speaking about the ubiquitous cover use of Alexei Kondratyevich Savrasov’s painting ‘The Rooks Have Come Back’, and in the space of a couple of minutes I find two works of Russian literature that hit the radar instantly and go straight onto my wish list.
The Village by Ivan Bunin [ISBN: 1847491049] – The first is the one spoken about mainly in that Caustic Cover Critic article. Released this week as it happens by One World Classics, a quick check of the synopsis told me it was a book I really wanted to read – The Village is a bleak and uncompromising portrayal of rural life in south-west Russia. Set at the time of the 1905 Revolution and centering on episodes in the lives of two peasant brothers – “characters sunk so far below the average of intelligence as to be scarcely human” – it reveals the pettiness, violence and ignorance of life on the land. How incredibly yummy does that sound? )
Dead Souls by Nikolay Gogol [ISBN: 0140448071] – My brief research on The Village lead me on to title’s page on Amazon.com (non-affiliate link as always) and a response from a Patrick W. Crabtree on a review for the book which more or less labelled Russian literature as a sad affair. Pat responded: “It’s true that much Russian literature gets the “misery rap” and for good cause. Someone should have helped you out and pointed you toward some of the more hilarious stuff that exists. Try Gogol’s “Dead Souls” (a guy travels around buying “dead serfs”), or his “The Inspector General”. Wow! A novel about a guy buying dead serfs? Must have! Must read! Must add to my list!
I’m still to look into Pat’s recommendation for Gogol’s The Inspector General but for now, another fine addition to my wish list.