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The Possessed Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman


The Possessed Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them by Elif Batuman

Roaming from Tashkent to San Francisco, this is the true story of one budding writer's strange encounters with the fanatics who are devoted - absurdly! melancholically! ecstatically! - to the Russian classics. Combining fresh readings of the great Russians from Gogol to Goncharov with the sad and funny stories of the lives they continue to influence, The Possessed introduces a brilliant and distinctive new voice: comic, humane, charming, poignant and completely, and unpretentiously, full of an infectious love for literature.


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

About the Author

ELIF BATUMAN was born in New York City and grew up in New Jersey. She graduated from Harvard, and received her doctorate in comparative literature from Stanford University. She is currently the writer-in-residence at Koc University, Istanbul. Her writing has been published in the New Yorker, n+1, Harper's and the Guardian, and she has received a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writer's Award. This is her first book.

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Book Info

Publication date

5th April 2012


Elif Batuman

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Granta Books


304 pages


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