Book Review — A Short Life of Pushkin

A Short Life of Pushkin by Robert Chandler is a short biography of Pushkin. Chandler is a British poet and translator. He is the editor of Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida and the author of Alexander Pushkin.

Pushkin is perhaps Russia’s greatest writer. In his short life, he managed to leave a mark on all areas Rissian literature producing poetry, plays, novels, and short stories. Pushkin was a rebel with ties to the Decemberists, yet no matter how much trouble he caused he always managed to find a way out. He saved his life many times but was not able to to get out of financial debt. He wrote Russia’s most famous love poem about a woman who rejected him. He was exiled and returned to become a member of the court not only for his fame but also his flirtatious wife had an effect on the court. It was rumors about his wife that lead Pushkin to the fatal duel ending his life at the age of 37.

What makes this biography particularly interesting is its size.  At just over one hundred pages, it serves the reader better than most short introduction at the beginnings of books.  It also condenses Pushkin’s life to the most important parts of his life and his literature for those not wanting a several page account of the details of the man’s life. The writing is straightforward and easy to follow as well as informative.  A Short Life of Pushkin captures the excitement of the poet’s extraordinary life without sensationalizing events.  The reader will experience the high and low points of Russia’s greatest writer. An excellent short biography.

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