NABOKV-L post 0017521, Thu, 25 Dec 2008 18:09:20 -0500

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Imagining Nabokov ...
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Complete article at following URL:
http://www.themoscowtimes.com/arts/2008/12/24/373406.htm


The Revolutions of History
Lessons of the past are the focus of the year's best books related to Russia.

By James Marson
Published: December 24, 2008

Crisis is a word that defined 2008. The crisis in the Caucasus, followed by the crisis in relations between Russia and the West and, of course, the financial crisis. Karl Marx is a name on the tip of many tongues as his observations on capitalism provide food for thought during these challenging times for capitalism, but it is his remark that "history repeats itself, first as tragedy, second as farce" that remains perhaps most relevant to Russia. "Continuity or change?" is the eternal question about the country's apparently revolutionary upheavals in the last century. Rulers and empires have come and gone under different banners, but to what extent and how has Russia really changed? The best books reviewed this year in "The Moscow Times" have explored not only recent events and the issues they raise but also the ways in which those events have found striking resonance in the complex texture of Russia's past.

[ ... ]

Best Debut.








Nina Khrushcheva's "Imagining Nabokov: Russia Between Art and Politics" (Yale University Press) is a boiling pot of biography, memoir, politics and even a fictitious conversation with the great writer himself. The author interprets Nabokov's life and works as a recipe for Russians — and Russia — to drag themselves out of "the vast undifferentiated Russian collective," the "childish Russian paradise" where suffering is equated with spiritual depth, to a world created by taking responsibility for oneself. As I wrote in my May review of the book, its publication is timely, as Russians continue to search for a way to reconcile their own history with the possibilities of democracy.





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