If it’s winter and it’s cold, then it’s time for another Russian classic at the Eagle Public Library. This year’s selection is “Envy” by Yuri Olesha.
Published in 1927, “Envy” is agreed to be Olesha’s greatest work, contrasting Soviet life to life under the tsar, and comparing individualism and collectivism in the Soviet Union.
Born in Kirovohrad, Ukraine, in 1899, Olesha grew up in a Catholic Polish family. His father, once a poor landowner, became a government alcohol inspector with drinking and gambling issues.
After 1902, the family lived in Odessa, where Olesha was involved with a literary group called the “Green Lamp.” He eventually moved to Moscow and wrote for a railway workers’ magazine. Prolific during the Revolutionary period, Olesha found it increasingly difficult to publish under Stalin. He died of heart failure in 1960.
Book Club Discussion
This year’s Russian Book Club will meet on Feb. 25 at 6:30 p.m. at the Eagle Public Library for celebratory zakuski (appetizers) and discussion.
Register your email with Jaci Spuhler, local history librarian, at firstname.lastname@example.org before Saturday to receive daily fascinating facts about this classic. Copies of “Envy” are available at the circulation desk at the Eagle Public Library. For more information, call Spuhler at 970-328-8800.