Russia 2007: New Fiction

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?