Russian Reading Update: The Golovlyov Family

bookshelf_banner Continuing with my ongoing Russian reading project, I’ve been fortunate enough to read Saltykov’s ‘The Golovlyov Family’, a true masterpiece of world literature.  Once again, I’m feeling thrilled at embarking on this project because, before deciding  to read the Russian greats in chronological order, I’d never even heard of this fantastic author. Also, it’s clear my chronological approach is paying off, because I’m now in the midst of the emancipation of the serfs and it’s so exciting to see how contemporary fiction reflects this historical landmark. ‘The Golovlyov Family’ is the dark and demented chronicle of a family’s implosion.  Selfish, petty and callous, the characters prey on each other to destructive, but often very funny, effect. Think Roald Dahl’s ‘The Twits’ crossed with Faulkneresque isolation, or Ghormenghast with a dash of Dickensian realism.  For a more nuanced exploration of why I loved this book, go to the Saltykov page of my Russian Reading project.

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2 Responses to Russian Reading Update: The Golovlyov Family

  1. BookerTalk says:

    This is a completely new name to me. Mind you I don’t know very many of the Russians other than the big names.

  2. He was new to me too! My initial list for this project only contained: Pushkin, Gogol, Lermontov, Turgenev, Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Goncharov, Chekhov, Zamyatin, Babel, Bulgakov and Pasternak (allowing for one writer a month). I’d read all but two of these authors before and was excited about trying out Goncharov and Babel. I’m now learning how many fantastic authors were missed off!

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