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    The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them (Paperback) By (author) Elif Batuman

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    DescriptionOne of "The Economist"'s 2011 Books of the Year THE TRUE BUT UNLIKELY STORIES OF LIVES DEVOTED--ABSURDLY! MELANCHOLICALLY! BEAUTIFULLY!--TO THE RUSSIAN CLASSICS No one who read Elif Batuman's first article (in the journal "n+1") will ever forget it. "Babel in California" told the true story of various human destinies intersecting at Stanford University during a conference about the enigmatic writer Isaac Babel. Over the course of several pages, Batuman managed to misplace Babel's last living relatives at the San Francisco airport, uncover Babel's secret influence on the making of "King Kong," and introduce her readers to a new voice that was unpredictable, comic, humane, ironic, charming, poignant, and completely, unpretentiously full of love for literature. Batuman's subsequent pieces--for "The New Yorker," "Harper's Magazine," and the "London Review of Books"-- have made her one of the most sought-after and admired writers of her generation, and its best traveling companion. In "The Possessed "we watch her investigate a possible murder at Tolstoy's ancestral estate. We go with her to Stanford, Switzerland, and St. Petersburg; retrace Pushkin's wanderings in the Caucasus; learn why Old Uzbek has one hundred different words for crying; and see an eighteenth-century ice palace reconstructed on the Neva. Love and the novel, the individual in history, the existential plight of the graduate student: all find their place in "The Possessed." Literally and metaphorically following the footsteps of her favorite authors, Batuman searches for the answers to the big questions in the details of lived experience, combining fresh readings of the great Russians, from Pushkin to Platonov, with the sad and funny stories of the lives they continue to influence--including her own.


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  • Full bibliographic data for The Possessed

    Title
    The Possessed
    Subtitle
    Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them
    Authors and contributors
    By (author) Elif Batuman
    Physical properties
    Format: Paperback
    Number of pages: 296
    Width: 142 mm
    Height: 209 mm
    Thickness: 21 mm
    Weight: 268 g
    Language
    English
    ISBN
    ISBN 13: 9780374532185
    ISBN 10: 0374532184
    Classifications

    Nielsen BookScan Product Class 3: T3.7
    B&T Merchandise Category: GEN
    B&T Book Type: NF
    BIC E4L: LIT
    B&T Modifier: Region of Publication: 01
    BIC subject category V2: DSB
    B&T Modifier: Academic Level: 05
    BIC geographical qualifier V2: 1DVU
    B&T Modifier: Geographic Designator: 01
    BISAC V2.8: LIT007000
    Ingram Subject Code: LC
    Libri: I-LC
    B&T Modifier: Subject Development: 94
    B&T General Subject: 500
    BISAC V2.8: LCO010000
    B&T Approval Code: A28400000
    BISAC V2.8: LIT004240
    Warengruppen-Systematik des deutschen Buchhandels: 25780
    B&T Approval Code: A24363000
    LC subject heading:
    DC22: 891.709
    DC21: 891.709
    DC22: 891.7/09
    LC classification: PG2986 .B33 2010
    LC subject heading: ,
    Publisher
    Farrar Straus Giroux
    Imprint name
    Farrar Straus Giroux
    Publication date
    01 March 2010
    Publication City/Country
    New York, NY
    Author Information
    ELIF BATUMAN was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. She now lives in Twin Peaks, San Francisco (near the radio tower). She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Prize. She teaches literature at Stanford University.
    Review quote
    Praise for "The Possessed" "In her comic, poignant, beguiling book, Batuman succeeds marvelously in illuminating her version of love." --Reese Kwon, "Virginia"" Quarterly Review ""At every step along the way, Batuman's observations are wonderfully vivid." --Julia Keller, "Chicago"" Tribune ""Odd and oddly profound . . . Among the charms of Ms. Batuman's prose is her fond, funny way of describing the people around her . . . Perhaps Ms. Batuman's best quality as a writer though--beyond her calm, lapidary prose--is the winsome and infectious delight she feels in the presence of literary genius and beauty. She's the kind of reader who sends you back to your bookshelves with a sublime buzz in your head. You want to feel what she's feeling." --Dwight Garner, "The New York Times Book Review ""It's not surprising that some people never get over these books, and Batuman, for her part, goes to get a Ph.D. in Russian literature. Meanwhile, she travels through a country just poignant and absurd enough to showcase her capacious sense of humor (which has room for Isaac Babel, romantic mishaps, and missing luggage) . . . The main attraction is Elif Batuman herself." --Benjamin Moser, "Harper's Magazine ""Hilarious, wide-ranging, erudite, and memorable, The Possessed is a sui generis feast for the mind and the fancy, ants and all. And, unlikely though this may sound, by the time you've reached the end, you just may wish that you, like the author, had fallen down the rabbit hole of comp lit grad school. Batuman's exaltations of Russian literature could have ended up in scholarly treatises gathering dust in university stacks. Instead, she has made her subject glow with the energy of the enigma that drew her to it in the first place." --Liesel Schillinger, "The New York Times Book Revi"ew "A hugely entertaining mix of scholarly spelunking . . . and subtle personal revelation . . . Batuman, a gifted and almost painfully funny raconteur, enco