Friday, April 1, 2016

The Possessed: Adventures With Russian Books and the People Who Read Them, by Elif Batuman, at Escape Into Life

I've got a post up at Escape Into Life today. It's about Elif Batuman, a Turkish-American writer who developed an unexpected passion for Russian language and literature. I wrote a bit about her reflections on this passion, but there is much more that I left out of her astute analysis of different Russian writers. The last chapter on the original The Possessed (i.e., Dostoevsky's) is particularly insightful and illustrates her idea of how books inform life and life informs our understanding of them. I've also found some cool links about Batuman's work elsewhere, which you should definitely check out, whether or not you bother to read my review.


  1. This sounds like such a good one! I love the coincidence that I was just engaging with Boris, a Russian character in The Goldfinch, and that EIL just had poems in Turkish & English! (And is likely to have more sometime soon.)

  2. I noticed that poetry connection too, Kathleen. And oddly enough, I am learning Turkish, though I can hardly recognize any of the words in that poem and I am not sure I am learning for love or just exactly what.