In 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. Most importantly though, it is really an examination of how we can bring our lives closest to our favourite books.
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- St Kilda
- State Library
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