My first encounter with Russian literature came when I was about 17 years old. I think it was Dostoevsky’s Poor Folk, but it may also have been one of Gogol’s Petersburg tales. Either way, I never stopped reading. I have never even visited St Petersburg, yet I can see it now; it’s snowing and Pushkin is stepping out in a thick winter coat. Somewhere in a fancy salon Anna Karenina is rushing to see her son. In a less good neighbourhood Raskolnikov is planning a murder…
Or Moscow, where Boris Pasternak meets Olga by Pushkin’s statue for a date; an event that became a historical moment in Russian literature. Olga became Lara, one of the great literary heroines. But in real life Olga was an even greater heroine, getting arrested and sent to work in the Gulag not once, but twice, all because she loved a writer who was writing a controversial novel.
Russian literature is there to remind us what life is really about. That no matter how bad things get, we can overcome the obstacles and grow stronger, and be happy again.
I was delighted, honoured and excited (and a little bit nervous!) when my blogging friend Rebecca Budd invited me to talk about Russian literature on her podcast Tea, Toast & Trivia. Let’s join her now:
Welcome to Tea, Toast and Trivia. Thank you for listening in. Russian literature has captured my heart ever since I read the opening paragraphs of Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak. A funeral and a mother’s grave – profound, moving, unforgettable. I was 15 years old. Boris Pasternak may have opened the door to Russian […]