Tag: Russia

The Invention of Russia by Arkady Ostrovsky

Invention of Russia by Arkady Ostrovsky

The subtitle to The Invention of Russia — From Gorbachev’s Freedom to Putin’s War — unfortunately now has to be followed with a question: which one? Even when the book was published in 2015, his wars were already plural (Chechnya and Georgia) but the author clearly means Russia’s seizure of the Crimean peninsula and its proxy war …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/05/22/the-invention-of-russia-by-arkady-ostrovsky/

Das Haus an der Moskwa by Yuri Trifonov

Das Haus an der Moskwa by Yuri Trifonov

Das Haus an der Moskwa, known in English as The House on the Embankment and with the original title Дом на набережной, poses a question that it doesn’t really answer, or at least not directly. On a hot August day in 1972 Vadim Glebow has traveled out to a distant corner of Moscow to get …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/05/13/das-haus-an-der-moskwa-by-yuri-trifonov/

Black City by Boris Akunin

Black City by Boris Akunin

A rare blunder by Erast Fandorin, Imperial Russia’s foremost detective, puts him on the trail of an assassin and revolutionary in the summer of 1914, a trail that leads to Baku, oil-spattered boomtown and possible crucible of a plot against the very order that Fandorin upholds. The city itself is a bubbling pool of money, …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/03/13/black-city-by-boris-akunin/

The Master And Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov, translated by Diana Burgin & Katherine Tiernan O’Connor

with notes and an afterword by Ellendea Proffer, who is smart enough to put all her illuminating, excellent content at the end in order to avoid spoilers. That said, I rather wish there’d been a bit of footnoting to direct readers to this area, tho understand that this isn’t meant to be an annotated version. …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2022/01/06/the-master-and-margarita-by-mikhail-bulgakov-translated-by-diana-burgin-katherine-tiernan-oconnor/

The Lost Pianos of Siberia by Sophy Roberts

Lost Pianos of Siberia by Sophy Roberts

Fittingly, if annoyingly, I have mislaid my copy of The Lost Pianos of Siberia, so this will have to be from memory, just like many of the stories that Sophy Roberts collects over the course of the book. The conceit of the story is that Roberts was spending most of a summer with a German …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/11/20/the-lost-pianos-of-siberia-by-sophy-roberts/

The Man Without a Face: The Unlikely Rise of Vladimir Putin by Masha Gessen

The Man Without a Face by Masha Gessen

Vladimir Vladimirovich Putin, Poisoner of Underpants, Autocrat of Some of the Russias, in Gessen’s reckoning probably the son of a secret policeman, was born in Leningrad in 1952. Like any proper villain — but also like anyone born in that place in that year — he has a tragic backstory. Hitler’s army completed its encirclement of Leningrad …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2021/02/22/the-man-without-a-face-the-unlikely-rise-of-vladimir-putin-by-masha-gessen/

Molotov’s Magic Lantern by Rachel Polonsky

Molotov's Magic Lantern

Early on in Molotov’s Magic Lantern Rachel Polonsky quotes Osip Mandelstam as saying “Ask me for my biography, and I will tell you the books I have read.” (p. 6) From that perspective, Polonsky braids three biographies. One is Vyacheslav Molotov, erstwhile foreign minister of the Soviet Union whose former apartment a banker friend of …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/12/30/molotovs-magic-lantern-by-rachel-polonsky/

Spinning Silver by Naomi Novik

Spinning Silver

One of the unusual things that Naomi Novik does in Spinning Silver — so unusual, in fact, that I can’t think of another fantasy book that does it — is to state that some of her main characters are Jews. The first chapter lays out the hints: the characters are moneylenders in a small town whose …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/10/15/spinning-silver-by-naomi-novik/

Hitler’s Empire by Mark Mazower

In Hitler’s Empire Mark Mazower, a professor of history at Columbia University, describes how Nazi Germany ruled most of the rest of Europe. Briefly, Nazi rule was both incompetent and inhumane. In that sense, Mazower’s book does not break much new ground. Instead, it takes on several other interesting tasks. It situates Nazism “as an …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/05/19/hitlers-empire-by-mark-mazower/

Barbarossa by Alan Clark

Barbarossa by Alan Clark

So I asked the friend whose copy of Barbarossa I had acquired what the virtues were of an account published in 1965. He replied that Clark wrote clearly and was particularly good on the politicking among the German generals, and between the German high command and the leaders in the field. Thus encouraged, I picked …

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Permanent link to this article: https://www.thefrumiousconsortium.net/2019/05/18/barbarossa-by-alan-clark/