11 Great Works of Russian Literature

Our CEO Marc Lambert's picks beyond Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky

Those Russians – what can one say? On one hand a long, abject tradition of political and social brutality of the very worst kind; on the other a record of cultural and artistic achievement that is surely one of the most profound and sophisticated of any nation. It’s the sand that makes the pearl.

It’s impossible to boil Russian literature down to a handful of books, so I have dispensed with the 19th Century altogether – which is absurd, obviously. Nevertheless, here’s my list, concentrating on the ‘Silver Age’ of the Soviet era.

1. Red Cavalry

Isaac Babel

2. Life and Fate

Vasily Grossman

3. The Master and Margarita

Mikhail Bulgakov
Hope Abandoned cover

4. Hope Abandoned

Nadezhda Mandel'shtam

6. And Quiet Flows the Don

Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov
My Century cover

7. My Century

Aleksander Wat
Petersburg cover

8. Petersburg

Andrei Bely
Requiem cover

9. Requiem

Anna Akhmatova
Hope cover

10. Hope Against Hope

Nadezhda Mandelstam
First Circle cover

11. The First Circle

Aleksandr Solzhenitsyn

List created by

Marc Lambert

Marc Lambert is the CEO of Scottish Book Trust, and previous to taking up the post in 2002 he worked for Waterstones, Penguin Books, The Fruitmarket Gallery and as Assistant Director of the Edinburgh International Book Festival. He has also edited several books and is a regular reviewer for The Scotsman and Scotland on Sunday. Born in Thailand, Marc has lived in Singapore, Hong Kong, Switzerland, Australia, and Italy, as well as the UK!