Thursday, March 08, 2007
The New Republic paid tribute to one of my favorite novels, Ivan Goncharov's Oblomov. I daresay this is the best least-read Russian novel, and deserves to stand alongside Tolstoy's fatties and Chehov's pamphlets as one of the best examples of what can be done with the written word. In the review, Joseph Frank points out that the book was one of the few works of Russian literature to contribute a new word to the language--oblomovshchina--which gets its origin from the eponymous hero of the novel. What does it mean? Well, you have to read the book to REALLY understand, but the dictionary says "carelessness, want of energy, laziness, negligence." Add to that a candidate for the best love letter of all time and some of the best laughs since Lucky Jim, and you can see why this is on my "must read" list. I think I saw a copy at Om Book Shop awhile back.