What to read, bearing in mind a visit to St Petersburg… EPISODE 5
Lermontov – A Hero of Our Time.
Bulgakov – Master & Margarita. It’s not a Petersburg novel, but it’s a fantastic surreal romp through Soviet Moscow. Dovlatov – the drinking man’s writer, died in NYC. I’ve only read Pushkin Hills, which I loved; have heard great things of Ours. Kharms is Russia’s Edward Lear, writing in the 1930s. I haven’t read enough of his work to recommend anything, but if you’re into that sort of thing, he’s fascinating. Did a lot of children’s books. Goncharov wrote the sublime Oblomov, about a man who’s all set to take life by the horns, but just as soon as he gets up. He has a remarkably hard time getting up. His man servant is of less use than the broken brush with which he pretends, badly, to clean the apartment, and the whole thing is a most wonderful exploration of the mind of a truly lazy man. For anyone who doubts their own productivity – Oblomov is the man you want to compare yourself to.