Russian literature has produced one of the richest and most interesting novels for two centuries. The Russian novels have great story, artistic expertise, originality, and the capacity to engross readers in deep, personal reflection about life’s most important questions. Here are 10 great works of Russian literature everyone should read.

War And Peace by Leo Tolstoy

Great Works Of Russian Literature Everyone Should Read
Great Works Of Russian Literature Everyone Should Read (Book 1)

War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy is regarded as the greatest classic novel in world literature. It is set against the extensive array of Napoleon’s invasion of Russia. The story centers on Pierre Bezukhov, who is searching for meaning in his life; Prince Andrei, who is ennobled by wartime suffering; and Natasha Rostov, whose impulsiveness can jeopardize her happiness. As the story follows the changing fortunes of the characters, readers get a view of humanity that is both epic and intimate. War and Peace is a wise, constantly surprising and heart-breaking story.

Crime And Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Great Works Of Russian Literature Everyone Should Read
Great Works Of Russian Literature Everyone Should Read (Book 2)

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky is an incredible classic novel. The story follows Raskolnikov, a impoverished and desperate former student. He wanders through the slums of St Petersburg and commits a murder of an old pawnbroker without feeling any remorse or regret. He thinks of himself to be a great man, as Napoleon, acting for a higher purpose beyond the conventional moral law. However, as the dangerous game of cat and mouse commences with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov is haunted by the growing voice of his conscience as he slowly goes mad with guilt. He finds a chance of redemption and salvation with an encounter with Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute. Crime and Punishment explores everything from poverty, religion, family and evil.

The Master And Margarita by Milkhail Bulgakov

Great Works Of Russian Literature Everyone Should Read (Book 3)

The Master and Margarita by Milkhail Bulgakov is recognized as one of the classics of modern Russian literature. The story is set in the 1930s, when the devil arrives in Moscow, accompanied by a beautiful witch Hella and a talking black cat who likes chess and vodka. They quickly wreak havoc in a city that refuses to believe in either God or Satan. However, they bring peace to two unhappy citizens of Moscow. One is the Master, a writer condemned for daring to write a novel about Christ and Pontius Pilate; the other is Margarita, who is so deeply in love with the Master that she is literally willing to go to hell for him. The Master and Margarita by Milkhail Bulgakov is an audacious dark comic.

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak

Great Works Of Russian Literature Everyone Should Read
Great Works Of Russian Literature Everyone Should Read (Book 4)

Doctor Zhivago by Boris Pasternak is a captivating love story and is also about the effects of the Russian Revolution and its aftermath on a middle-class family. The novel tells the tales of Dr. Yury Zhivago a poet, philosopher, and physician whose life is disrupted by the war and his love for Lara who is the wife of a revolutionary. Zhivago struggles to find his place, his profession, and his artistic voice amid the turmoil of the Russian Revolution. His artistic nature makes him vulnerable to the brutality and harshness of the Bolsheviks. Doctor Zhivago by Boris Paternak takes readers on a journey of love, pain, and redemption.

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy

Great Works Of Russian Literature Everyone Should Read
Great Works Of Russian Literature Everyone Should Read (Book 5)

Anna Karenina by Leo Tolstoy is acclaimed as the world’s greatest novel. The book tells the story of the doomed love affair between the sensuous and rebellious Anna and the dazzling officer, Count Vronsky. Set against the backdrop of the nineteenth century Russia, their affair scandalizes society and family alike. Soon the tragedy unfolds and brings jealousy and bitterness in its wake as Anna rejects her passionless marriage and thereby exposes herself to the hypocrisies of society. 

Fathers And Sons by Ivan Turgenev

(Book 6)

Fathers and Sons by Ivan Turgenev like many works of Russian literature is about the changing times in Russia. The story follows Bazarov, a gifted, impatient, and caustic young man. Bazarov is a strict nihilist and soon his rejection of authority and social conventions causes quarrels, misunderstandings, and romantic entanglements transforms Bazarov and makes him rethink his entire worldview.

The Brothers Of Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

(Book 7)

The Brothers of Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a tale of murder and lust. The novel follows three Karamazov brothers: the monastic Alyosha, the sensual Dmitry, and the intellectual Ivan and their lecherous father Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov. It describes the murder of the father at the hand of one of the brothers. The novel also questions in great detail the existence and purpose of God. Father and Sons is an emotional and philosophical story of patricide and family rivalry.

Life And Fate by Vasily Grossman

Great Works Of Russian Literature Everyone Should Read
Great Works Of Russian Literature Everyone Should Read (Book 8)

Life and Fate by Vasily Grossman is a story of a country told through the fate of a single family, the Shaposhnikovs navigating the political and social turmoil of twentieth century Russia. When the battle of Stalingrad looms, the characters must work out their destinies in a world torn apart by ideological tyranny and war as their lives are violently uprooted by the forces of war, terror, and Soviet totalitarianism.

Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin

(Book 9)

Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin is an engrossing love story set in the early nineteenth-century Russia. Pushkin’s novel follows the emotions and destiny of three men Onegin, Lensky, and Pushkin himself and the fates and affections of three women Tatyana, her sister Olga, and Pushkin’s capricious Muse. The novel is engaging, full of suspense, and varies in tone. Eugene Onegin by Alexander Pushkin is playful, serious, ironic and passionate.

Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol

(Book 10)

Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol is a classic novel. The book follows Chichikov, a mysterious and strange man. He arrives in the provincial town of ‘N’, and visits a succession of landowners and makes each a strange offer. He offers to buy the names of dead serfs that are still registered on the census, and save their owners from paying tax on them. Chichikov uses these ‘dead souls’ to mortgage them for profit and to reinvent himself as an aristocrat.

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