Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Comment: Snowden in Moscow




Today's NY Times (7/25/13) reports that: "After a month holed up in the transit zone of Moscow's Sheremetyevo airport, Edward J. Snowden. . . received a change of clothes and copy of Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 'Crime and Punishment,' during a meeting with his lawyer on Wednesday. . . "

The need for a change of clothes requires no comment. But why that particular novel, not that I disapprove. On the contrary, I hope Snowden will share — leak? —  his thoughts on it. 

Should we suggest other Russian novels he might want to consult while "holed up in the transit zone" of the Moscow airport? (Just Russian novels; Kafka, otherwise all too appropriate, need not apply.)

I, for one, would recommend Bulgakov's "The Master and Margarita". Then again, ever since a Russian bartender in Brooklyn told me it was her favorite book, and I re-read it, I recommend that stupendous novel to everyone. On the other hand, I would strongly recommend against "The Brothers Karamazov". which, except for the Grand Inquisitor sequence, is pure wind-baggery.

I can't imagine Snowden finding much to like in "The Brothers Karamazov" — except, again, the riveting and relevant Grand Inquisitor sequence — but who knows?

Snowden is detained in Russia. When detained in Russia, literature becomes essential, as we know. Hence, I further recommend "The Gulag Archipelago".





3 comments:

  1. many great Russian novels, and Snowden will have the time to read them. What about Tolstoy?

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  2. Of course, the first work of literature that comes to mind is Everett Hale's short story The Man Without a Country. (Translated into Russian by none other than Kurt Vonnegut.)

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  3. sure. but i can see why he turns to dostoyevsky.

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