The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them

The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them Author Elif Batuman
ISBN-10 0374532184
ISBN-13 9780374532185
Year 2010-02-16
Pages 304
Language English
Publisher Farrar, Straus and Giroux
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One of The Economist s 2011 Books of the Year THE TRUE BUT UNLIKELY STORIES OF LIVES DEVOTEDABSURDLY MELANCHOLICALLY BEAUTIFULLY TO THE RUSSIAN CLASSICSNo one who read Elif Batuman s first article in the journal n 1 will ever forget it Babel in California told the true story of various human destinies intersecting at Stanford University during a conference about the enigmatic writer Isaac Babel Over the course of several pages Batuman managed to misplace Babel s last living relatives at the San Francisco airport uncover Babel s secret influence on the making of King Kong and introduce her readers to a new voice that was unpredictable comic humane ironic charming poignant and completely unpretentiously full of love for literature Batuman s subsequent piecesfor The New Yorker Harper s Magazine and the London Review of Books have made her one of the most sought after and admired writers of her generation and its best traveling companion In The Possessed we watch her investigate a possible murder at Tolstoy s ancestral estate We go with her to Stanford Switzerland and St Petersburg retrace Pushkin s wanderings in the Caucasus learn why Old Uzbek has one hundred different words for crying and see an eighteenth century ice palace reconstructed on the Neva Love and the novel the individual in history the existential plight of the graduate student all find their place in The Possessed Literally and metaphorically following the footsteps of her favorite authors Batuman searches for the answers to the big questions in the details of lived experience combining fresh readings of the great Russians from Pushkin to Platonov with the sad and funny stories of the lives they continue to influenceincluding her own

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