In this enchanting biblio-memoir, comedian, broadcaster and russophile Viv Groskop, or âVipulenkaâ â her own personal diminutive, which translates as âDearest Teeny Tiny Little VIPâ via a mishearing of âVivkaâ (âLittle Vivâ) as âVeepkaâ (âLittle VIPâ) â takes readers on a whistlestop tour through Russian literature by means of what sheâs learned from the classics. Arriving in Russia as a student in the 1990s, sheâs shocked to discover everyone banging on about fate the entire time, âlike something out of a bad Bond filmâ.
Nevertheless, she falls in love with the people and, most importantly, the literature, her impressive knowledge of which she conveys with a charmingly breezy tone. This is the first time Iâve seen Tolstoy described as âOprah Winfrey with a beardâ. Itâs Samantha Ellisâs How to Be a Heroine meets Elif Batumanâs The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them.
â¢ The Anna Karenina Fix: Lessons from Russian Literature by Viv Groskop is published by Fig Tree (Â£14.99). To order a copy for Â£12.74 go to guardianbookshop.com or call 0330 333 6846. Free UK p&p over Â£10, online orders only. Phone orders min p&p of Â£1.99