Ariadne, Theseus and the Minotaur – a book pairing of opposites

This would have been just a single review – of Jennifer Saint’s retelling of Ariadne’s story from Greek Myth. But then Marina Sofia recently posted a review of Russian author Victor Pelevin’s Omon Ra, and I remembered I had Pelevin’s retelling of Theseus and the Minotaur from the Canongate Myths series on my shelves, and Read More

A dose of totally bonkers Russian SF from the Strugatsky brothers

Last year, a language missing from my reading in translation was Russian, and Karen picked me up on it 😀 when I published my annual stats. So, this year I’m making sure that doesn’t happen again by getting an early first read–it won’t be my last–of one of the Strugatsky brothers’ SF novels. I can Read More

Some good reads from pre-blog days, and what I thought about them then
 #12

I haven’t done one of these posts for a couple of months, so here are five books in translation that I read in 2007-8 – pre-blog – and the capsule reviews I wrote then from my master spreadsheet. I was heartened to find more than this handful in translation from countries other than my most-read Read More

Some Literary Fireworks…

There are many, many mentions of fireworks in novels – but mostly in the metaphorical sense, so I went searching for some mentions of the real thing to share: “Borkin: Ladies and gentlemen, why are you so glum? Sitting there like a jury after it’s been sworn in! … Let’s think up something. What would Read More

Reading Chekhov plays on the page for book group

About once a year, our book group feels adventurous and decides to read a play rather than a novel or non-fiction title.  Last year we read The Weir by Conor McPherson which was rather wonderful. This year we decided to plump for some Chekhov and as the plays are short to read we picked The Read More

A Russian fairytale

The Year of Miracle and Grief by Leonid Borodin, translated by Jennifer Bradshaw Leonid Borodin was a writer, Soviet dissident and Christian. He was born in Irkutsk – one of those areas of Russia only familiar to me through the board-game Risk! He was imprisoned twice, the second time after the English publication of his Read More

The book that inspired 1984 and Brave New Worl

This post was republished into it’s original place in my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. We by Yevgeny Zamyatin Translated by Clarence Brown So, I finally read the book that inspired Orwell’s1984 (my brief write-up here).  Many other dystopian novels have similarities, including Huxley’s Brave New World (my review here) although Huxley said he was actually inspired by HG Wells, Read More

The mad scientist and his red ray

This post was edited and republished into my blog’s timeline from my lost posts archive. The Fatal Eggs by Mikhail Bulgakov Translated by Roger Cockerell Pre-blog, back in 2006, we read The Master and Margarita by Bulgakov in our book group and I loved it. This novel about the devil coming to a town of Read More

Russian echoes of Waiting for Godot

The Concert Ticket by Olga Grushin The story in this wonderful novel was inspired by a real event – that of the eighty year old Stravinsky returning to Russia in a ‘for one night only’ comeback concert; the queue for tickets started a whole year before. Set in an unnamed Russian city some time during the height Read More