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I'm really surprised to see that people here enjoyed Dostoyevski's Crime and punishment, especially due to its style...I'm afraid it's hard to talk about style when one reads a translation....Anyway, I have read the book, in Russian, obviously, however, was barely able to finish it. In my view, it is quite tough to comprehend the psychological and moral side of the protagonist's deed as well as to empathize with his further brooding. In addition, the book is rather depressive, which makes it more difficult to read.
As to literature in general, I am a great fan of Russian literary works.
In actuality, Dostoevsky is very well known in the U.K. and the U.S., you are just not talking with the right people. It is very embarrassing to hear that people do not appreciate Russian literature, and I can assure you, that is far far from the truth. Honestly, though I adore Dostoevsky's works, especially The Idiot and Crime and Punishment, I find Boris Pasternak's Dr. Zhivago a much more intense read, and it's hard to be more intense than Fyodor. And most certainly, Bulgakov's The Master and Margarita is a finely humorous read, but the likes of Turgenev, Pushkyn, and Tolstoy are much more indicative of the Russian passion we've come to love. And to be frank, Alexander Solzhenitsyn has endured so much that these boys seem like small fries compared to heat of his anguish. The GuLag Archipelago or One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovitch are good places to start. So as you can see, though we are few and far in between, there are still people who appreciate the beautiful and sensitive culture of Mother Russia.

Ashley Sharr
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Among the witers I prefer Tolstoi. As for Dostoyevsky I'd rather say it's gloomy and too psycological. It's just to the liking.

What I want to stress: that classical literarture you mention is a little out of date. Why speak anout Nabokov with his strange book? Why Dostoyevsky? It doesn't show the Russian life today. Why Solzhenitsyn - a person who suffered much (I wish he hadn't) and he has got an ill association with the past? He doesn't describe Russia as it is now.

I adore Bulgakov and its Master and Margarita I think really IS a book to read and to think about.

But one could find in some other books too. My favourites are "Razor Edge" by Ivan Efremov (and most of his other books too) And Strugatsky brothers (the last books actually) with a deep philosophical impact and a look into the future - not past.
Hey! The speech was about CLASSICAL literature... Not about modern detective stories.
But u're right the classical literature books don't show life in Russia nowadays.