Thursday, December 10, 2015

Russka - Edward Rutherfurd

Title: Russka
Author: Edward Rutherfurd
Publication Date: 1991
Pages: 960
Genre: Historical / Political / Fiction
How I Found It: I read Paris
Date Completed: 11/28/15

Summary: Rutherfurd follows some vague family lines through centuries of Russian history.

What I Thought: Guys, I really enjoyed Paris. Like a lot. So much so, I went and put nearly every other Rutherfurd work On Reserve. But this...this was a whole other thing. 

I will be the first to admit that I do not find Russian history as innately appealing as I do that of France. Still, I carry a flame for history of all types and, thus, figured any of Rutherfurd's other novels would appeal to that sensibility of mine. 

It's not that I did not like this book. I did; but only to a point. Russka is much more dry than its counterpart. I actually really enjoyed the earlier chapters, which took place before the actual formation of Russi as a country. Shockingly, once there were tsars and political intrigue, it got dry and less interesting for me. I know, I was shocked by that, too. Usually royalty and politics are both magnets for my imagination. Here, though, Rutherfurd kept them enough on the fringe to be irrelevant.

I got invested in so few of the characters. This is definitely one major fault of the style of these novels. When the timeline is constantly shifting, you have little time to get to know and care for the personages on the page. Instead, you find yourself struggling to keep track of exactly who they are and how they tie into the greater picture. For me, this was much easier with Paris, not only because I was more familiar with Franco-style names, but also because Rutherfurd wove six very distinct family lines there, while in Russka things were decidedly more blurred and confusing. 

I do want to read more of Rutherfurd's work, even after this venture into Russian history. I think, however, in the future I will be more selective about the geographical area in which I immerse myself. To commit to one of these books is to commit to that geographical area's history in a big way and I want to enjoy things on the same level I did Paris. That being said, I did learn from Russka and enjoyed taking a step of the beaten path of my own interests. Reading, after all, is about growing and learning and exploring. 

Rating: ★★★☆☆
Will I Re-Read: No
Other Books By Edward Rutherfurd: Paris

A Reduced Review: Conquering this novel was a bit like fighting a land war in Russia; Russia won and I, the reader, was left exhausted.

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