Wednesday, 13 November 2013

Finished Game of Thrones? Then read a Russian classic!

The Dostoevsky Monument outside the Lenin Library, Moscow (1)
The main obstacle to the popularity of Russian literature is public perception. Many people simply find the prospect of reading a Russian classic too daunting to attempt. A simple round of word association throws up prejudices that Russian novels are gloomy, depressing, without a sense of humour, morbid, tedious, too long and too deep. Leaving aside the fact that half of these things are the mark of great literature anyway, how else can someone be convinced to read a great Russian book, indeed, why are Russian novels so great anyway?

As a bit of blog fun here is an attempted rebrand of some of the Russian novels you may have heard of complete, with their own flippant, pulpy blurbs:

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky -  A prostitute enters the battle to save the doomed soul of a megalomaniac murderer.

 Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol – A mysterious confidence trickster purchases the souls of dead peasants as part of a needlessly complex get-rich-quick scheme.

War and Peace by Lev Tolstoy – Napoleon is rude to a Russian fanboy and some Moscow gets burned.

 The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov – What links Pontius Pilate, a cat with a gun, a terrible poet and the early days of the Soviet Russia? Ask the guy with no head.

Petersburg  by Andrei Bely – What a BBC4 documentary on the Russian revolution would look like if it was directed by David Lynch. 

If those descriptions haven't wet your page-turning finger then nothing will. 

(1) Pamyatnik dostoevskogo - Adam Baker - Taken from flickr under creative commons

No comments:

Post a Comment