The funny side of Russian Existentialism

March is National Reading Month. To that end, I will read so much and post so often you will be sick of me by April 1.

My last excursion into Russian literature wasn’t great, but I don’t write off a whole genre based on one book. I was drawn back because this author has such a good story (personal) and, to be honest, I couldn’t pass up the title.

death and the penguinAndrey Kurkov, according to his bio in the back of “Death and the Penguin,” is a Ukrainian writer who graduated from the Kiev Foreign Languages Institute. I’ll quote the rest because I find what it doesn’t say intriguing (the italics are mine).”After graduating from the Kiev Foreign Languages Institute, he resisted pressure (from who?) to become a military translator for his military service and instead opted to serve as a prison warder (a what?) in Odessa. Afterwards, he worked as a journalist and film cameraman, then borrowed money to self-publish his first books, which he sold himself on the sidewalks of Kiev. (Seriously?) He is now one of the most popular and critically acclaimed writers in Ukrainian history (not to diminish his accomplishments, but name just one other Ukrainian author), and his books have been translated into 25 languages.” Continue reading “The funny side of Russian Existentialism”

The reader who came in from the cold

Hey, Classics Challengers, long time no post. But I’m back.

Let’s see, we’ve read a novel by a woman and for the second book of this challenge, I said, let’s read a Russian novel. And let’s read it during winter, so we get the real feel of St. Petersburg or Moscow or wherever the novel may lead you.

idiotWell, I read Fyodor Dostoevsky’s 1869 novel “The Idiot” for reasons explained here. And for reasons explained here, you’ll see why I haven’t posted about this challenge for nearly a month. Continue reading “The reader who came in from the cold”