Written by George Saunders, this is one of the best books on writing I’ve come across. So good I’ve read it twice.
A professor at Syracuse college, Saunders examines seven nineteenth century Russian short stories by Chekhov, Tolstoy, Turgenev, and Gogol. I don’t know which is more priceless – the stories or his brilliant analysis. Of course I’d have to go with the stories, but you get the idea.
I’m endlessly fascinated by 19th century Russian literature. The disconnect from modern culture somehow highlights the humanity of the stories, making them seem more relevant, not less.
Or maybe it just illustrates how great this stuff is. I wish I could read them in Russian, although it’s hard to imagine they could be any better than their translation.
Another example that great art is timeless.