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The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them Hardcover – 1 Apr 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Hardcover: 298 pages
  • Publisher: Granta Books; First UK Edition edition (1 April 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1847083137
  • ISBN-13: 978-1847083135
  • Product Dimensions: 21.6 x 13.7 x 2.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars 20 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 754,094 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Product description


`Wildly original, creatively rambling ... the funniest book I've read in a long time' --The Times

`Part personal recollection, part literary criticism, it has the remarkable quality of being so dazzlingly good in its unique genre' --Sunday Telegraph

'Batuman has a deadpan, detached, absurdist style ... She's a master of the laconic quote ... consistently surprising and entertaining' --Irish Times

`A deeply clever and very funny collection of essays: half memoir, half love-letter to the Russian literary greats' --Guardian

`One of the best guides to life and literature I've ever read ... Eccentric and brilliant'

'The first outing of a major voice ... seriously and perceptively, about Russian fiction, and it really is funny' --Observer

`Batuman meanders skilfully through her experiences chasing meaning and life in Russian novels ... entertaining, clear eyed and passionate' --Scotland on Sunday

'She writes like a dream ... I found myself simply wanting to read more from Elif Batuman' --Evening Standard

'An intoxicating mix of memoir, literary criticism and philosophy with Batuman's idiosyncratic character at its heart .... charming and hilarious' --Daily Telegraph

'Her stories incorporate moments of real beauty and are driven by a serious purpose ... charming, complex and life-enhancing' --Sunday Times

`Read and delight in Elif Batuman's seriously funny, curiously melancholic book ... oddly moving, dazzlingly written' --The Herald

`A clever, life-loving account of a love affair with language ... an eloquent defence of the book'

--Independent on Sunday

'There are many times when Batuman embodies that great New Yorker tradition of intelligent, lightly comic non-fiction' --Guardian

`Part-memoir, part-travelogue, part-literary criticism, this curious and idiosyncratic book is also a delightful one' --Financial Times

`A joy to read. Batuman infectiously conveys the dreamlike inscrutability of Russian literature ... An intellectually bracing travelogue of literary adventures' --Economist

'It's impossible not to warm to the author of this book ... comic poignant and very entertaining' --Spectator

About the Author

Elif Batuman was born in New York City, grew up in New Jersey, and went to college at Harvard. She completed a PhD in comparative literature at Stanford University in 2007. She currently lives in San Francisco, and teaches at Stanford in the Interdisciplinary Humanities program. Her writing has appeared in the New Yorker, Harper's, the London Review of Books, the Guardian, the Nation, and n+1. She is the recipient of a Rona Jaffe Foundation Writers' Award, and has a cat called Friday.

Customer reviews

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on 7 May 2013
Format: Paperback|Verified Purchase
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on 28 August 2017
Format: Hardcover|Verified Purchase
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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 25 October 2011
Format: Hardcover
33 Comments| 7 people found this helpful. Was this review helpful to you?YesNoReport abuse
on 11 August 2016
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