The 2000s saw a resurgence in Russian literature, with many authors producing works acclaimed nationally and internationally. This decade has seen the emergence of some of the most critically acclaimed and popular Russian books, including novels, short stories, and poetry collections.
Russian literature has a long and distinguished history, and its books have been popular for centuries. From the classic works of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky to the modern works of authors like Vladimir Sorokin and Lyudmila Ulitskaya, Russian books have captivated readers around the world.
In this article, we’ll look at some of the best Russian books from the 2000s. We’ll explore their themes, characters, and plots to help you decide which ones you should read first. So if you’re looking for great Russian books to read in the new decade, this is a great place to start!
The Top 10 Russian Books Since 2010
The written word is a powerful thing and Russia has a long and proud literary history. Here are the top 10 Russian books published since 2010 that any self-respecting literary snob should have read:
The Monastery by Father Alexander Schmemann:
The Monastery by Father Alexander Schmemann is a coming-of-age story set in the Russian Orthodox Church and it has been praised highly for its thoughtful and reflective narrative.
A number of years have passed since Fr Alexander Schmemann’s untimely death on December 13, 1983, at the age of sixty-three. Fr Schmemann was known for his many-faceted and eloquent gifts as a preacher, professor, and priest. His insight into contemporary culture, church life, and liturgical celebration left an indelible mark on generations of Christians. These journals offer insight into the quiet, intimate side of his life. They witness the magnitude of his heart, his absolute humanity. Translated and edited by his wife, the abridged journals reveal his recollections and experiences and record his formative creative thought on all manner of subjects.
The Last Ring Home by Ellen Blankenship:
The Last Ring Home by Ellen Blankenship is a touching tale of love and loss during the Second World War that captures both the beauty and tragedy of the era.
The subject of an award-winning documentary film that was broadcast nationally on PBS and History Channel (ANZ), The Last Ring Home is a spellbinding account of one man’s obsession with a family mystery―and the product of decades of research and inquiries. The book relates author Minter Dial’s pursuit of the true story of his namesake, his late grandfather Lt. Minter Dial, USN, a celebrated war hero whose suffering and trauma nearly buried his memory forever.
The Seagull by Anton Chekhov is widely considered one of the greatest plays of all time and is a timeless classic. Written in 1895 and first performed in 1896, “The Sea-Gull” is widely hailed as the first of Anton Chekhov’s four most important plays. It is acclaimed for its brilliant use of subtext and remains widely studied and performed as a significant dramatic work. It is the story of the romantic and artistic conflicts between four main characters: Nina, a young, aspiring actress and the daughter of a wealthy landowner; Madame Irina Arkadina, once a great leading actress; Konstantin Treplyov, her son and a playwright; and Trigorin, Irina’s lover and a well-known writer.
The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern: The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern is a magical tale of a traveling circus and the mystery and romance that dwells within.
The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.
The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov: The Master and Margarita by Mikhail Bulgakov is a darkly humorous and deeply philosophical look at faith and mortality.
The Master and Margarita is one of the most famous and best-selling Russian novels of the 20th century, despite its surreal environment of talking cats, Satan, and mysterious happenings. Naxos AudioBooks presents this careful abridgment of a new translation in an imaginative reading by the charismatic Julian Rhind-Tutt. With War and Peace and Crime and Punishment among the Naxos AudioBooks best-sellers, this too promises to be a front title.
Petersburg by Andrei Bely is a modernist masterpiece and a classic of Russian literature.
Set in 1905 in St. Petersburg, a city in the throes of sociopolitical conflict, the novel follows university student Nikolai Apollonovich Ableukhov, who has gotten entangled with a revolutionary terrorist organization with plans to assassinate a government official–Nikolai’s own father, Apollon Apollonovich Ableukhov. With a sprawling cast of characters, set against a nightmarish city, it is all at once a historical, political, philosophical, and darkly comedic novel.
The Slynx by Tatyana Tolstaya:
The Slynx by Tatyana Tolstaya is a surreal and playful exploration of a post-apocalyptic Moscow.
“A postmodern literary masterpiece.” –The Times Literary Supplement
Two hundred years after civilization ended in an event known as the Blast, Benedikt isn’t one to complain. He’s got a job—transcribing old books and presenting them as the words of the great new leader, Fyodor Kuzmich, Glorybe—and though he doesn’t enjoy the privileged status of a Murza, at least he’s not a serf or a half-human four-legged Degenerator harnessed to a troika. He has a house, too, with enough mice to cook up a tasty meal, and he’s happily free of mutations: no extra fingers, no gills, and no cockscombs sprouting from his eyelids. And he’s managed—at least so far—to steer clear of the ever-vigilant Saniturions, who track down anyone who manifests the slightest sign of Freethinking, and the legendary screeching Slynx that waits in the wilderness beyond.
War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy: War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy is an epic saga of Russian society, culture, and politics and has been praised for its insight and depth.
The novel chronicles the history of the French invasion of Russia and the impact of the Napoleonic era on Tsarist society through the stories of five Russian aristocratic families. Portions of an earlier version, titled The Year 1805, were serialized in The Russian Messenger from 1865 to 1867.
Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy: Anna Karenina is an emotionally charged story of love and tragedy and is considered one of the greatest novels of all time.
Anna Karenina is a novel by the Russian author Leo Tolstoy, first published in book form in 1878. Widely considered to be one of the greatest works of literature ever written, Tolstoy himself called it his first true novel. A complex novel in eight parts, with more than a dozen major characters, Anna Karenina is often published in more than 800 pages. It deals with themes of betrayal, faith, family, marriage, Imperial Russian society, desire, and rural vs. city life. The story centers on an extramarital affair between Anna and dashing cavalry officer Count Alexei Kirillovich Vronsky that scandalizes the social circles of Saint Petersburg and forces the young lovers to flee to Italy in search of happiness, but after they return to Russia, their lives further unravel.
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov is a philosophical masterpiece that tackles the big questions of faith, morality, and the human condition.
The murder of brutal landowner Fyodor Karamazov changes the lives of his sons irrevocably: Mitya, the sensualist, whose bitter rivalry with his father immediately places him under suspicion for parricide; Ivan, the intellectual, driven to breakdown; the spiritual Alyosha, who tries to heal the family’s rifts; and the shadowy figure of their bastard half-brother, Smerdyakov. Dostoyevsky’s dark masterwork evokes a world where the lines between innocence and corruption, good and evil, blur, and everyone’s faith in humanity is tested.
No matter your literary tastes, these 10 Russian books since 2010 should be on any literary snob’s must-read list. So grab a coffee or tea, find a comfy chair, and set aside a few hours to dig into this list.
Thank you for visiting with us. For more poetry or Literature related content, visit our blog at The Ritual. Written by Willy Martinez, originally for the Twitter community.