Thursday, February 09, 2006

СТАНЦИОННЫЙ СМОТРИТЕЛЬ - First of 12 Stories


I recently acquired a dual-language book of Russian Stories. My Russian isn't quite there yet, but it is something at which I work to improve. Having the stories to enjoy now, and then to reread in the original Russian later, seemed like a clever trick. Anyway, the first of the stories is СТАНЦИОННЫЙ СМОТРИТЕЛЬ (The Stationmaster) by Alexander Pushkin. I decided to read it this evening, the alternative being to watch a movie.

As I read it, I realized I had actually read it before, years ago in high school. Still, it is very good, and reads rather like a fairy tale or fable. It is really three stories, each told at a different time in the speakers life, with a preface. The craft of the writing reminded me of Mark Twain's
"The Celebrated Jumping Frog of Calaveras County" ... where the author is manipulating you with the written point of view, and telling you more than the tale on the page. As Twain is one of my favorite authors, this is strong praise for the craft of the story.

I recommend reading it, even if you have read it in the past. An English translation can be found here and the original Russian for those so blessed, can be read here.

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