This book club is for anyone interested in reading and discussing Russian authors - contemporary and classic. We hope to have fun while we explore the Russian literature and though the Russian mentality in general.
English translations are primarily read, though some members may choose to read in Russian. The discussions are strictly in English.
Books are chosen by members at the meet-ups.
We meet once a month on the first Monday of each month 6.30 to 8pm at the Kensington Central Library (12 Phillimore Walk, London, W8 7RX) in London. We normally then stay for informal drinks and chat in the nearby pub.
Next meet-up is on 5th of June, 2017. Book your free tickets here.
In our June meet-up, we're going to discuss a book which some consider one the most important books in the Russian literature of the second half of XIX century.
Arkady Kirsanov has just graduated from the University of Petersburg and returns with a friend, Bazarov, to his father's modest estate in an outlying province of Russia. His father, Nikolai, gladly receives the two young men at his estate, called Maryino, but Nikolai's brother, Pavel, soon becomes upset by the strange new philosophy called "nihilism" which the young men, especially Bazarov advocate.
We're going to discuss the book, the context of the events at the time in Russia and Europe and what we may learn about Russians from this piece of writing. The discussion is going to be informal, in English (you're welcome to read the book in any language). There's been a suggestion each of us reads a favourite passage from the book - so be prepared.:-)
You're welcome to bring tea or coffee (or juice, or kvas) with you, we'll have some biscuits. After the meet-up those who'd like to chat in even more informal setting can go to a cafe or pub nearby.
4th of May, 2017. A short story 'The Cossacks" by Leo Tolstoy.
2nd of March, 2017. A historic novel 'Laurus' by Eugene Vodolazkin.
About the book
Fifteenth-century Russia. It is a time of plague and pestilence, and a young healer, skilled in the art of herbs and remedies, finds himself overcome with grief and guilt when he fails to save the one he holds closest to his heart. Leaving behind his village, his possessions and his name, he sets out on a quest for redemption, penniless and alone. But this is no ordinary journey: wandering across plague-ridden Europe, offering his healing powers to all in need, he travels through ages and countries, encountering a rich tapestry of wayfarers along the way. Accosted by highwaymen, lynched in Yugoslavia and washed overboard at sea, he eventually reaches Jerusalem, only to find his greatest challenge is yet to come.
Winner of two of the biggest literary prizes in Russia, Laurus is a remarkably rich novel about the eternal themes of love, loss, self-sacrifice and faith, from one of the country's most experimental and critically acclaimed novelists.
About the author
Eugene Vodolazkin was born in Kiev and has worked in the department of Old Russian Literature at Pushkin House since 1990. He is an expert in medieval Russian history and folklore. He lives in St Petersburg, Russia.