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Russka: The Novel of Russia Paperback – Mar 1 2005

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 960 pages
  • Publisher: Ballantine Books; Reprint edition (March 1 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0345479351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0345479358
  • Product Dimensions: 13.9 x 5.3 x 20.8 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 726 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (44 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #38,961 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product Description

From Publishers Weekly

Rutherfurd weaves an expansive tapestry of Russian lore in this sprawling, occasionally soap-operatic historical novel--a seven-week PW bestseller and a Literary Guild selection in cloth--which vividly explores the historical influences on the modern Russian psyche.
Copyright 1992 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

From Library Journal

In his newest novel, Rutherfurd does for Russia what his last novel, Sarum ( LJ 9/15/87), did for England. Focusing on a small farming community in the Russian heartland between the Dnieper and the Don at the edge of the steppes, he traces its growth through its inhabitants from the first Tatar raid on the Slavs through the Cossacks, aristocrats, and an emigre's recent return. These interconnected lives present a vast panoramic portrait of Russia and its history. However, abundance of historic detail, fascinating though it is, intrudes and overwhelms. Transitions from intertwined stories of succeeding generations are abrupt and the reader longs for more character and plot development. Recommended for devotees of James Michener and Sarum . Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 5/15/91.
- Cynthia Johnson Whealler, Cary Memorial Lib., Lexington, Mass.
Copyright 1991 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Barbara Lezon on Dec 18 2001
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Briefly, Russka is a novel that follows two families through the rich and dramatic history of one of the most powerful countries in the world today. I am currently on a Russian literature binge and bought this book to read after finishing War and Peace. Expecting a bland modern twist on War and Peace, I was delighted to find that this book explores not only the lives and emotions of the characters, but also the anthropological aspects of its history, including genetic characteristics, social class structure, and linguistics. (As a scholar of anthropology and archaeology I found this fascinating.) I suppose my one complaint would be that because this novel spans about one thousand years it makes it more difficult to follow the character lineage. (Although I do understand the author's intent.) I found myself referring to the family tree at the beginning of the book quite a bit. The trials and tribulations of the families in the novel are believable and interesting, and like War and Peace I found the characters realistic, yet I found the most rewarding aspect of the novel the fact that I have a new and better understanding of the Russian people. The origin of the features, the personality, the passion, the strength that are distinctly Russian has been revealed to me. Am I now closer to understanding Russia's strange, twisted social and political past and its wonderful people? Perhaps I am, but like all good books Russka left me with the hunger to learn more.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Elianna on June 28 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I first picked up this book at the library when I was doing research on russian history. After looking at the number of pages, I quickly put it down. It was only after I finished my project that I decided that I would buy the book because I found russian history so fascinating. I was not dissapointed. Mr. Rutherfurd goes into such detail that you grow to love the characters, you grow to understand russian culture so much more. So many people are still clinging to the steriotypes of Communist Russia: if they could read this book, I am sure that they would understand our friends in the east. What I enjoyed the most about the book was the fact that it was also educational. I even learned things that I did not discover in my studies. But that doesn't mean that if you know nothing about Russia that you won't understand the book, far from that. Rutherfurd takes the time to explain what is happening, so the reader is never lost. I'd recommend this book to anyone. If a 17 year old can read it and enjoy it, anyone can.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Keep It Real on March 12 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback
As an Anglophile, I fell in love with Rutherfurd's 3 novels of England. I really wasn't sure about reading Russka, but I took a small risk based on the other books. Again, Rutherfurd engages the reader and holds one's attention for nearly 1000 pages. In the process, one is educated about a mysterious and complex land and its people. The only thing I want is more Rutherfurd!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Jeff Roper on July 14 2000
Format: Mass Market Paperback
I have traveled to Russia five times in the past five years and have often marveled at their way of thinking. Russka does a wonderful (and delightful) job of exposing the roots of Russian Thought. Orthodoxy, the autocratic rule of the Tsars (and future leaders) and Russian Nationalistic Pride provide the three pronged stool Russian Thinking rests upon. Read this book to see these three legs masterfully crafted and united. It will open up to you the vast riches and complexities of mystrious Russia. Russka takes us past the Cold War stereo types and evening news sound bites to the heart of Russia, the struggles of her people and her political turmoil that seems unending. Russka is Russia with a human face. It is well worth the time invested in reading it.
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By J R Zullo on Aug. 28 2003
Format: Mass Market Paperback
Reading Rutherfurd brings instantly one other author to mind, the late James Michener. Like Michener (most of his books, at least), Rutherfurd chooses one specific place (London, for example) and, through a series of characters inhabiting that place, he tells the story of a nation, or of a city. In this case, the "place" is the biggest country in the world: Russia, and her neighbours.
Like "Sarum", which tells the hisstory of England, "Russka" is the hisstory of Russia told from the point of view of three families, each occupying a different position in russian society. From the II century, through the tsarist empire and finally the October Revolution, Rutherfurd, in more than 900 pages, was able to provide his readers with the right blend between a well-created fiction with the most important parts of russian history. And yet, I thought this book was shorter than it could be.
Rutherfurd's style sometimes leave the reader tired. Some of his sentences are a little too prosaic for the kind of fiction he's intended to write. He abuses the right to use the word "For" (as in "For Nicolai was the greatest poet in Ukraine") to begin a phrase. One other problem I found was concerning the division of the book. The part I expected the most was the Revolution. I was satisfied when I read it. It's well written, interesting and holds the attention of the reader. In fact, the Revolution is the climax of russian history (at least in my opinion, I'm not russian and I really don't know that much about russian history), and the author does a good job in building the tension and creating a very "russian" atmosphere in the previous chapters before the revolution. But the problem is that, after 1917, the book ends.
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