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See note on methodology

Despite the richness of the field, there is a surprising convergence not just on the best-known book set in Russia, but on the top three spots. In order, the most widely-owned books set in Russia on both LibraryThing and GoodReads (all nineteenth-century classics) are:

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky
Anna Karenina by Lev Tolstoy
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

At fourth place on GoodReads (fifth on LibraryThing) is a twentieth-century magical realist satire on Stalinism, written by a Ukrainian but clearly set in Moscow:

The Master and Margarita, by Mikhail Bulgakov

And on fourth place on Librarything (sixth on Goodreads, behind a bio of Catherine the Great) is my personal favourite work of Russian literature, though I suspect that its sheer size puts some readers off:

War and Peace, by Leo Tolstoy.

Bubbling under: Solzhenitsyn, Zamyatin, Gogol, Nabokov.


Feb. 3rd, 2015 08:49 am (UTC)
the difference between the Russian novels and the UK/Irish novels is that these have already gone through a process of selection. English-language readers only see the novels that have been translated, and all of these would appear on university reading lists.
Books set in Ireland don't have those gatekeepers, and so you see any old shite on the list. :)
Feb. 3rd, 2015 10:58 am (UTC)
Well, it's novels set in Russia rather than Russian novels per se; so it's more that none of the "any old shite" novels has been set there. You'll see some interesting cases of the latter phenomenon in future posts...
Feb. 3rd, 2015 01:35 pm (UTC)
I'm sure there are plenty of terrible Russian novels (written by Russians and set in Russia) that are never translated, and so they won't end up on Librarything or Goodreads.
In the same way that when we think of Russian cinema, we think of the movies that get subtitled or dubbed and released here in arthouse cinemas, not The Irony of Fate: Continuation or Black Lightning

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