Thursday, January 15, 2015

Top ten books about revolutionaries

Neel Mukherjee’s second novel, The Lives of Others, was published in the UK in May 2014, in India in June 2014, and in the USA in October 2014. The Lives of Others was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2014. It has also been shortlisted for the Costa Novel Award.

At the Guardian Mukherjee tagged his top ten books about revolutionaries, including:
The Possessed by Fyodor Dostoevsky (1872)

I have given the old title – a wrong one; in modern translations, it is the more accurate Demons – simply because I read it first, in Constance Garnett’s translation, as The Possessed. I cannot decide whether Stepan Trofimovich Verkhovensky should be branded as the true revolutionary in this scathing denunciation of idealistic, utopian revolutions, since the obvious revolutionary, his son, Pyotr Stepanovich, who drives the nihilistic shenanigans in a provincial town in Russia, is influenced so markedly by Verkhovensky Sr’s views. This is an intensely political novel, examining, broadly, five different and opposing ideologies, but Dostoevsky reserves the brunt of his ire for the new-fangled nihilism of Pyotr Stepanovich. While the scepticism is bracing, I do not warm to Dostoevsky’s Russian Orthodox Christianity.
Read about the other entries on the list.

Also see Selma Dabbagh's ten favorite reluctant revolutionaries.

--Marshal Zeringue