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14 November 2018

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Hard Times

Vasily Sleptsov, Translated by Michael Katz (Univ. of Pittsburgh, $17.95)

This superb translation by Michael Katz (a Russian Life Advisory Board member) brings into English for the first time Sleptsov’s searing examination of post-emancipation life in Russia. In Sleptsov’s take, peasant and landowner exist in two irreconcilable worlds, a reality no reform seems capable of bridging. In fact, the novel is a rumination on whether Russia should pursue a path of gradual or radical reform, and it was the focus of heated debate at the end of the nineteenth century. Which makes it all the more surprising it has never before been translated.

— Paul E. Richardson

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Reviewed in Russian Life: Jan/Feb 2017