ISBN 0804109729 - It's unavoidable that Rutherfurd be compared to Michener; their styles are similar, their books tend to be EPIC NOVELS and they both like one-word place-name titles. In a world without Michener, I'm especially glad there's Rutherfurd. Ignore the Russophiles; this book wasn't written for them. It is a novel, meant to entertain - dissecting it as if Rutherfurd had marketed it as a textbook is a ridiculous sort of snobbery.
Russka is set in two towns of the same name in Russia over a period of 1800+ years. The lives of two families are woven together through the entire novel. Each chapter covers a period of time, some following right on the heels of the previous chapter and others leaving gaps of decades or centuries; it's nice to have the family tree in the front of the book to refer to. Power shifts from family to family over the centuries; that they remain tied to one another for so long, and that they are largely unaware of those ties is an enjoyable aspect because the reader, of course, knows all about them.
Re-telling history through individual stories is a particularly good choice for Russka and by weaving the families together the scope of the story stays manageable. The story of the country is told in how it affects our two families, their immediate circle and the towns of Russka. That the years from 1918 onward are condensed into a very small percentage of the book is a gift - we've been reading that history for decades, we know those stories. It's the fictional look at life in the 1700 previous years that draws you in and makes you pity Paul Bobrov, Sergei Romanov and Ludmilla Suvorin - our last generation of characters - for what they don't even know they've lost.
There are wonderful things that stick out - women "swinging their sickles" in 180 (no, that's not missing a digit) and still at it in 1945; the amulet given to Kiy in the first chapter and its progress through the generations; most of all, the story of the firebird that survives the entire history of the country. Worthy of at least one thorough reading, as long as you're here for the story and not looking for history.
This is a beautifully written history of the Russian people, told in novel form. I can't help but compare Rutherfurd to Michner, in that the history is so compelling and the people and events seemed to come alive as I read about them.His other books, Sarum and The Forest are about England, and as deeply interesting. I strongly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys historical fiction. I learned so much about Russia and the Russian people, and I will never forget the thrill of learning it in such a beautiful way.
Must reading for anyone who is planning a trip to Russia, who has ever been to Russia, or who has family roots in Russia. A sweeping historical novel that will give you a real feel for the country and its people!
I'm still working my way through the history of Russia I bought the summer after my freshman year in college...46 years ago.
I read this historical novel avidly in about a week.
This book has the sweep of all of Rutherford's novels. However, I am less partial to this work than his others, but that doesn't diminish its value as a novel or as a history. I enjoyed the book and hope it will find a good home.
This edition is approximately 3 hours long on two cassettes.
Rutherfurd's novels are indeed "gorgeous tapestries", but listening to an abridged reading of one is like viewing the backside of the needlework from two rooms away. If you want a short version of the story, this is well done by a good reader; if you want to wallow in a sweeping historical novel, you'd do better to read the whole book yourself.
Another Edward Rutherfurd novel that I couldn't put down. It's 900+ pgs, but worth every minute.
Great read. It is a wonderful novel which will teach you some Russian history as you read. It takes several families over many generations and chronicles the development of Russia as a country.
Epic, slow going at times, but reveals the soul of the Russian people.
An excellent novel of Russiam History.
Author Edward Rutherford writes an epic history of Russia as a human story about four families of different ethnic backgrounds. Excellent, but a very long book (940+ pages)!
an historical novel which will give an insght into russia
If you like histrorical fiction, this one is a must have.
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.
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.
Edward Rutherfurd, author of the phenomenally successful SARUM: THE NOVEL OF ENGLAND, now turns his remarkably vast talents to an even larger canvas: Russia. Spanning 1800 years of its history, people, politics, and culture, Rutherfurd's grand saga is as multifacted as Russia itself: harsh yet exotic, proud yet fearful of enemies, steeped in ancient superstitions but always seeking to make its mark on the emerging world.
In RUSSKA, Ed Rutherfurd transforms the epic history of a great civilization into a human story of flesh and blood, boldness and action, chronicling the lives of four families who are divided by ethnicity but united in shaping the destiny of their land.
Edward Rutherfurd, author of the phenomenally successful SARUM: THE NOVEL OF ENGLAND, now turns his remarkably vast talents to an even larger canvas: Russia. Spanning 1800 years of its history, people, politics, and culture, Rutherfurd's grand saga is a multifaceted as Russia itself: harsh yet exotic, proud yet fearful of enemies, steeped in ancient superstitions but always seeking to make its mark on the emerging world.
In RUSSIA, Edward Rutherfurd transforms the epic history of a great civilization into a human story of flesh and blood, boldness and action, chronicling the lives of four families who are divided by ethnicity but united in shaping the destiny of their land.