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The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them Kindle Edition
About the Author
- ASIN : B007RB6VEO
- Publisher : Granta Books (7 April 2011)
- Language : English
- File size : 715 KB
- Text-to-Speech : Enabled
- Screen Reader : Supported
- Enhanced typesetting : Enabled
- X-Ray : Not Enabled
- Word Wise : Enabled
- Print length : 308 pages
- Page numbers source ISBN : 0374532184
- Best Sellers Rank: #172,235 in Kindle Store (See Top 100 in Kindle Store)
- Customer Reviews:
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Top reviews from India
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But there were a couple of places where the book kind of dragged - so I would have given it 4.5 stars rather than 5 stars; but that is not an option.
I liked the parts when she talks of life as a graduate student, and the whole book has this quirky, slightly anecdotal feel to it, which was fun to read. perfect as a holiday read, i guess.
Top reviews from other countries
But the strange thing about the book lies in the writing style. Just as the academics are portrayed as obsessed by their topics, when they clearly are not, the chapters are littered with bizarre statements that look as though they might be clever or amusing, but in fact are just strange. It is as though the text were translated from a Turkish original full of untranslatable wordplay. The style is so remorseless that it develops an horrific charm of its own. "I didn't care about truth; I cared about beauty. It took me many years -- it took the experience of lived time -- to realize that they really are the same thing." (p.10). Quite. "[they] disinfected and bandaged his knee in a visibly efficient fashion." (p. 14). Not invisibly? And this splendid non-sequitur, on which I pondered deeply: "He had been chased several kilometers cross-country by a wild dog. He must be the kind of man who likes women, I remember thinking." (p.15). And: "'little feet'... Pushkin is not here referring... to his own feet. Nonetheless, I saw a pair of Pushkin's boots once in a museum, and they were very small." (p.89). "The gypsy looked at my palm and told me to beware of a woman called Mary ." (p. 91). Mary? "In Moscow, for the first and last [last?] time in my life, I dated bankers. Things didn't work out with the first banker [pray tell, perhaps?], but I still remember the second banker fondly... Rustem was saving up money to pay for parachuting lessons." (p. 93). Melachi does not know why Rustem wanted such lessons, but one suspects, and cannot blame him.
I found the author's summer in Samarkand, which forms the middle section of the book, intriguing reading. I particularly loved the description of a game called Perfect Chess `. . . in which each player has, in addition to the standard pieces, two giraffes, two camels, two siege engines, and a vizier . . .' Then there was the author's recurring nightmare about being sent to stay with a family of penguins to learn their language. I also loved her description of the reconstruction of an 18th century ice palace in St Petersburg.
Did I learn anything about Russian literature? Yes quite a bit. I'm now not sure whether I want to read any of it, except Chekov's short stories, because it all seems quite depressing. The book is intriguing reading because of its insight into other cultures which were certainly unfamiliar to me.