Books. Contemporary Russian literature

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Russian culture is diverse and rich, and it is difficult to imagine that we can get acquainted with it without immersion in Russian literature. The works written by Russian classics are included in the golden fund of world literature, are translated into many languages of the world, and are definitely a part of the world cultural heritage. Today’s world is rich in talent just as much.

If you like reading, we offer you our today’s review of contemporary Russian prose that can become your guide to Russian character, mindset, and everyday life.

Eugene Vodolazkin


non-historical novel

The main character of the novel Laurus is a medieval herbalist Arseny. He has the gift of healing but is unable to save his beloved. He decides to walk his earthly path by devoting his life to her. He nurses the plague stricken and wounded, wretched and feeble, and the more he sacrifices himself, the more evident his gift becomes. But can love and sacrifice save a human soul?

This is a very profound and multi-layered novel about people, God, love, and sacrifice. It is written in modern Russian and Old Russian, has been translated into more than 30 languages, and has won recognition from critics and readers.

Alexei Polyarinov

The Reef

novel / thriller

Kira lives in the restricted-access northern town of Sulima where the locals poach. Lee is on a university campus in the US, doing research at the intersection of contemporary art and anthropology. Tanya is in modern Moscow, making documentaries. Unbeknownst to them, evil seeps into their lives and threatens to destroy them. Or maybe it has always been there? But why and how did it happen?

The Reef is a novel about the classical problem of fathers and children* with immersion into the frightening reality of religious cults and rehabilitation of their victims.

*Fathers and Children, Ivan Turgenev

Zakhar Prilepin

The Pathologies

novel / realism

The outskirts of Grozny city. War in the Caucasus. The group of young and angry special operations forces soldiers have come to war.

Svyatoy Spas is a quiet town lost among Russian hills and plains. The six-year-old boy, living his childhood tenderly and sensitively. The grown-up young man, loving passionately and jealous till it bleeds.

But the line between the past and the present, between peace and war is blurred. The main character, Egor Tashevsky – a man with a restless and attentive state of mind – tries to fit the war into his concept of normality and mentally lives his broken childhood and sybaritic youth again.

The Pathologies is a complex and cinematic novel about ruthless war, persistent hope, and people at war. The novel stands out from other works by addressing a distressing theme of the Chechen War and harsh realism.

Boris and Arkady Strugatsky

One Billion Years to the End of the World

tale / science fiction

The main character of the tale, astrophysicist Dmitri Malianov, suddenly finds himself on the cusp of a scientific breakthrough. And just from then onward, some strange things begin happening in his life that seem to be going to obstruct his further work. A similar situation is faced by other researchers whose work in a variety of fields of science looks promising. Who and what is behind the attempts to stop the scientific progress of humankind? And why?

One of the most unusual works by the Strugatsky brothers – the tale One Billion Years to the End of the World is written in the genre of philosophical science fiction and laced with numerous literary, historical and metaphysical allusions.

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