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Tuesday, June 25, 2013

The Daughter of the Commandant

Recently gone on a trip to Ukraine - Kiev and Odessa - I had a rather hard time finding translated Ukrainian literature even within the country itself and thus restricted myself to - amongst others - Alexander Pushkin for my reading material. Pushkin of course is not Ukrainian - but really to clearly differentiate between Ukrainian and Russian history is quite difficult and he furthermore spent some time living in - exile in - Odessa where he promptly seduced the local governor's wife and thus had to leave more quickly than anticipated.

The Daughter of the Commandant then, where Pushkin tells the story of a Simplicissismus-like young noble posted on the Russian frontier where he and his new-found love interest are exposed to and suffer from Pugachev's Rebellion. Pushkin constant problems with the Tsarist government due to his socially critical writings and this also comes across in this - short - novel some. The young noble here comes across as naive - if later on heroic and lucky - at best, most of the higher-up officers in the army are described as incompetent or a bit corrupt, while finally the government's justice is erroneous - note: not the Tsar herself though.

In read this in one sitting - lying really - on the train from Odessa to Kiev and thought it a very enjoyable even if Pushkin's status as one of the greatest writers of Russian history was not clearly established to me with it. Curious to try and read something else of his though.

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