Monday, October 24, 2016

Russka: The Novel of Russia by Edward Rutherfurd (1991)

I checked out a streaming audio version of this from a local library (I have four cards, and I don't know which library I used).  The reader is Wanda McCaddon, who also reads under the name Nadia May (and also under Donada Peters - I wonder why all the names?).

I knew when I started listening that finishing the entire thing would be tough - the damn thing is 40 hours long (it's 760 pages long).  I also knew that my book club was reading Philip Pullman's His Dark Materials series, and I wanted to listen to that rather than read it for the club (I'd read them all before but not listened).  But The Golden Compass was checked out, so I moved on to Russka.

I didn't make it through.

I love Nadia May / Wanda McCaddon but I'm so tired of Russka. The characters are confusing, and the narrative thread is weak.  I don't feel that Rutherfurd crafts his characters as well as he has in other books.  They seem more like props and less like real people.  Rutherfurd is Michener-esque, but in this book, unlike Michener, or even Rutherfurd's other books, there is a real lack of continuity in Russka.  It just doesn't flow between generations.  Granted, there is a lot of time to cover, but that is probably part of the problem.  Still, I'm sure this continues to sell regardless of its problems, because people are still taking cruises and trips to Russia, and need something light and fiction to read before their trip.

I'm giving up.

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