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Interviews | March 17, 2014

Shawn Donley: IMG Peter Stark: The Powells.com Interview



Peter StarkIt's hard to believe that 200 years ago, the Pacific Northwest was one of the most remote and isolated regions in the world. In 1810, four years... Continue »
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Customer Comments

Russian lit-mystery fan has commented on (10) products.

The Master and Margarita (Everyman's Library) by Mikhail Bulgakov
The Master and Margarita (Everyman's Library)

Russian lit-mystery fan, August 29, 2012

Master and Margarita is one of the five books I would choose to keep with me if I was stranded for life on a desert island. Through wit and sarcasm Bulgakov managed to skewer the Soviet system in a magical twist on the Faust legend, while writing one of the most romantic stories I have read. There are great quotes throughout: “Love leaped out in front of us like a murderer in an alley leaping out of nowhere, and struck both of us at once... She by the way, insisted afterwards that is wasn’t so, that we had, of course, loved each other for a long, long time, without knowing each other, never having seen each other…” Nothing is predictable in this story, and every moment is memorable. It took Bulgakov 12 courageous years to write, and another 25 years after his death before it could be published in the Soviet Union. His masterpiece was instantly recognized as one of the greatest works of fiction of the 20th century.
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Frederic Chaubin: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed by Frederic Chaubin
Frederic Chaubin: Cosmic Communist Constructions Photographed

Russian lit-mystery fan, September 4, 2011

Western media images from the Cold War era of the USSR often emphasized drab but huge buildings (when not focusing on military parades), suggesting the only interesting architecture was produced prior to the Russian Revolution. This book shows that there were amazingly creative structures sprinkled throughout the empire's vast 11 time zones. Some buildings look like sets for science fiction movies, while others display unexpectedly beautiful attention to detail. CCCP provides a fascinating look at public and private spaces in the late Soviet era (1970-1990).
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The Cathedral Clergy by Nikolay Leskov
The Cathedral Clergy

Russian lit-mystery fan, September 4, 2011

What a joy to see this book made accessible to English speakers! Leskov has been called the most Russian of Russian writers; and this is regarded as his masterpiece. Leskov's insights are invaluable to understanding the era of his more famous contemporaries, Dostoevsky and Tolstoy.
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Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design by Michael Idov
Made in Russia: Unsung Icons of Soviet Design

Russian lit-mystery fan, August 16, 2011

A fun introduction to Soviet "pop" culture, this book is a breezy and affectionate "show and tell" of everything from toys and candy, to snowmobiles, cameras, cars (with removable floors for ice fishing), and space satellites. The longer essays give interesting insights into how people interacted with these objects: I loved the afterlife of the Saturnas vacuum cleaners, for example: their tops are popularly used as medieval helmets in role-playing games!

Made in Russia humanizes those who lived on the other side of "the curtain."
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Doctor Zhivago (Vintage International) by Boris Pasternak
Doctor Zhivago (Vintage International)

Russian lit-mystery fan, July 22, 2011

This is one of the greatest novels - ever! If you have seen one of the movies or mini-series based on Pasternak's story, but have never read it, I highly recommend you read this masterpiece - in this translation. Although it could be classified as a historic novel, there is nothing dry in this story. Full of passion, romance, intrigue, all set in the context of civil war, the story is compelling. Pasternak showed great courage in having it smuggled out of the USSR and published using his own name. He faced possible imprisonment, or worse, for daring to write critically about the birth of pangs of the Soviet State. He was pressured by the government to decline the Nobel prize, due to his unflinchingly honest depiction of human suffering at the hands of the Bolsheviks (though he was also truthful to show that no side of the civil war was blameless).

Pevear and Volokhonsky again provide a highly readable translation, which effectively catches the nuances of Russian literature.

HIGHLY recommended!
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(1 of 1 readers found this comment helpful)



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