The Possessed – Elif Batuman

batumanI became aware of Elif Batuman’s book The Possessed – Adventures with Russian Books and the People who Read Them through Swedish bookblogs, as it was apparently translated to Swedish last year. It sounded like my sort of book, so I thought I might as well order it.

Elif Batuman seems, judging from this book, to be my kind of person. Her conclusion –  «If I could start over today, I would choose literature again. If the answers exist in the world or in the universe, I still think that’s where we’re going to find them.» – naturally appeals to an incurable bibliophile. For myself, though, I think I might choose differently as far as study goes, I realised during my ‘academic career’ that I’m a reader, first and foremost, not an interpreter, in the academic sense. I care about the story and the language and the structure and the «truth» of literature, but I do not want to spend my life writing essays about it. Even keeping up this blog frequently seems like too much effort, in terms of writing something more than «I read this and it was good/bad/indifferent».

Still, reading about Batuman’s adventures was pleasant. And since I’ve only read a very little Russian literature, I learnt quite a bit along the way, too.

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