From Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, and Pushkin to Gogol, Nabokov, and Solzhenitsyn—not to mention upstarts such as Victor Pelevin and Gary Shteyngart—literature by and about Russians has something for everyone. Three titles to add to the list:
Highbrow: Ice by Vladimir Sorokin The aging enfant terrible of Russian letters continues to provoke and perplex with this post-Soviet satire of ideology and faith, complete with ice picks, frozen hearts, and a secret community of blond, blue-eyed lost souls. It's an eerie, existential mind warp.
Beach Read: The Dream Life of Sukhanov by Olga Grushin Russian émigré Grushin's novel traces the descent of a state-approved art critic; The New York Times dubbed it "apparatchik lit."
Page-Turner: Stalin's Ghost by Martin Cruz Smith Smith's latest thriller features Arkady Renko, the cynical, vodka-swilling detective who first appeared in Gorky Park, along with the Moscow Metro, Chechnya cover-ups, and chess. Can it get any more Russian?