Read the opening extract of the brand new Yrsa Sigurdardottir book before its publication on 19/03/2015
The Possessed Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them
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The Possessed Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif BatumanIn her brilliant first book Elif Batuman takes the reader on a journey both literary and physical as she traces the evolution of her fascination with Russian literature across the globe and several centuries. This is a deeply funny, fiercely intelligent portrait of the not-always-rational pursuit of knowledge. Though Batuman lavishes attention on the specifics of her passion-and may indeed inspire you to spend the rest of this season holed up with a thick Russian novel-her book is really about the process of learning itself. It's a relatable, absorbing account of what it feels like to be infatuated with ideas, and to let them lead you to ever more weird and wonderful places. Candid and reflective, mischievous and erudite, Batuman writes nimble and passionate essays celebrating the invaluable and pleasurable ways literature can increase the sum total of human understanding.A Most importantly though, it is really an examination of how we can bring our lives closest to our favourite books.
ReviewsPraise 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