The Zone

    By Sergei Dovlatov

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    Based on Dovlatov’s actual experience of being a prison guard in Soviet Russia in the 1960s, and full of comic and humane detail, The Zone depicts the absurd day-to- day life of a camp in an insightful and unusual way, challenging commonly held perceptions of the relations between incarcerators and…

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    Rudin

    By Ivan Turgenev

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    Dmitry Rudin, a high-minded gentleman of reduced means, arrives at the estate of Darya Mikhailovna, where his intelligence, eloquence and conviction immediately make a powerful impression. As he stys on longer than intended, Rudin exerts a strong influence on the younger generation, and Darya’s daug…

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    Faust

    By Ivan Turgenev

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    In a series of nine letters, the narrator tells his friend how he introduced Vera Nikolayevna, a married woman who had been forbidden as a child to read fiction and poetry, to the intellectual pleasures of Goethe’s masterpiece. Opening up in front of Vera’s eyes is not only the realm of imagination,…

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    Humiliated and Insulted

    By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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    Oscar Wilde claimed that Humiliated and Insulted is not “at all inferior to the other great masterpieces” and Friedrich Nietzsche is said to have wept over it. Its construction is that of an intricate detective novel, and the reader is plunged into a world of moral degradation, childhood trauma and,…

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    A Young Doctor’s Notebook

    By Mikhail Bulgakov

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    In this collection of short stories, drawing heavily from the author’s own experiences as a medical graduate on the eve of the Russian Revolution, Bulgakov describes a young doctor’s turbulent and often brutal introduction to his practice in the backward village of Muryovo. Using a sharply realistic…

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    Ruslan and Lyudmila

    By Alexander Pushkin

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    In order to rescue his beloved Lyudmila, who has been abducted by the evil wizard Chernomor, the warrior Ruslan faces an epic and perilous quest, encoutering a multitude of fantastic and terrifying characters along the way. The basis for Glinka’s famous opera of the same name, Ruslan and Lyudmila -…

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    The Death of Ivan Ilyich

    By Leo Tolstoy

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    The judge Ivan Ilyich Golovin has spent his life in the pursuit of wealth and status, devoting himself obsessively to work and often neglecting his family in the process. When, after a small accident, he fails to make the expected recovery, it gradually becomes clear that he is soon to die. Ivan Ily…

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    The Master and Margarita

    By Mikhail Bulgakov

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    Russia’s literary world is shaken to its foundations when a mysterious gentleman – a professor of black magic – arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a bizarre retinue of servants. It soon becomes clear that he is the Devil himself, come to wreak havoc among the cultural elite of a disbelieving capital….

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    Poor People

    By Fyodor Dostoevsky

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    Presented as a series of letters between the humble copying clerk Devushkin and a distant relative of his, the young Varenka, Poor People brings to the fore the underclass of St Petersburg, who live at the margins of society in the most appalling conditions and abject poverty. As Devushkin tries to…

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    The Village

    By Ivan Bunin

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    Ivan Bunin’s first published work, 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 scarce…

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    Sakhalin Island

    By Anton Chekhov

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    In 1890, the thirty-year-old Chekhov, already knowing that he was ill with tuberculosis, undertook an arduous eleven-week journey from Moscow across Siberia to the penal colony on the island of Sakhalin. Now collected here in one volume are the fully annotated translations of his impressions of his…

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    The Suitcase

    By Sergei Dovlatov

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    Several years after emigrating from the USSR, the author discovers the battered suitcase he had brought with him gathering dust at the back of a wardrobe. As he opens the suitcase, the items he finds inside take on a riotously funny life of their own as Dovlatov inventories the circumstances under w…

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