The Greatest Russian "Fiction" Books Since 2000

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This list represents a comprehensive and trusted collection of the greatest books. Developed through a specialized algorithm, it brings together 264 'best of' book lists to form a definitive guide to the world's most acclaimed books. For those interested in how these books are chosen, additional details can be found on the rankings page.

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  1. 1. Moscow Petushki by Venedikt Yerofeev

    The book is a surreal and satirical narrative that takes the reader on a tragicomic journey aboard a suburban train from Moscow to the small town of Petushki. The protagonist, a disillusioned intellectual and alcoholic, engages in philosophical musings and encounters a variety of eccentric characters, each embodying different aspects of Soviet life. As he delves into ruminations on love, suffering, and the search for meaning amidst the absurdities of existence, the journey becomes a metaphor for the human condition and the societal decay of the USSR, blending dark humor with poignant introspection.

  2. 2. Child 44 by Tom Rob Smith

    In a 1950s Soviet Union gripped by fear and paranoia, Leo Demidov, a dedicated officer of the state security agency, is faced with a chilling reality: a series of brutal child murders that the government refuses to acknowledge. As Leo defies his superiors and embarks on a dangerous investigation, he becomes entangled in a web of political intrigue and personal danger, risking everything to uncover the truth and protect those he loves. "Child 44" is a gripping thriller that explores the dark underbelly of a repressive regime and the resilience of one man determined to bring justice to a society plagued by secrets.

  3. 3. The Natashas by Yelena Moskovich

    "The Natashas" is a haunting and lyrical novel that weaves together the stories of three women: a young Russian prostitute searching for freedom, a French actress escaping her troubled past, and an American student seeking connection. Set against the backdrop of Paris, the book explores themes of identity, displacement, and the lengths people go to find themselves and their place in the world.

  4. 4. The Good Life Elsewhere by Vladimir Lorchenkov

    "The Good Life Elsewhere" is a darkly humorous and satirical novel that follows a group of Moldovan villagers who embark on a chaotic journey to Italy in search of a better life. Through their misadventures, the author exposes the harsh realities of poverty, corruption, and the desperate measures people are willing to take in pursuit of a brighter future. With a blend of absurdity and poignant social commentary, the novel offers a compelling exploration of the human condition and the universal desire for a better life.

  5. 5. Zuleikha by Guzel Yakhina

    "Zuleikha" is a captivating historical novel set in 1930s Soviet Union, following the life of Zuleikha, a Tatar woman who is forcefully taken from her home and exiled to Siberia. As she struggles to adapt to the harsh conditions of the remote village, Zuleikha finds solace in her resilience and the unexpected connections she forms with her fellow exiles. Through her journey of survival, love, and self-discovery, Zuleikha's story beautifully explores themes of identity, freedom, and the indomitable human spirit.

  6. 6. Rock, Paper, Scissors And Other Stories by Maxim Osipov

    "Rock, Paper, Scissors And Other Stories" is a collection of captivating short stories that delve into the lives of ordinary people in a small Russian town. Through these interconnected tales, the author explores themes of love, loss, and the complexities of human relationships. With a keen eye for detail and a deep understanding of the human condition, the stories in this book offer a poignant and thought-provoking glimpse into the lives of individuals navigating the challenges of modern-day Russia.

  7. 7. The Mountain And The Wall by Alisa Ganieva

    "The Mountain and the Wall" is a thought-provoking novel set in a fictional region of Russia, where a massive wall is being constructed to separate the Muslim population from the rest of the country. Through the eyes of various characters, the book explores the impact of this division on individuals and communities, delving into themes of identity, religion, and the struggle for freedom. As tensions rise and conflicts erupt, the story highlights the complexities of human relationships in a divided society.

  8. 8. A Dream In Polar Fog by Yuri Rytkheu

    "A Dream In Polar Fog" is a captivating and poignant tale that follows the journey of John MacLennan, a Scottish whaler who becomes stranded in the Arctic. As he navigates the harsh and unforgiving landscape, MacLennan encounters the indigenous Chukchi people and forms a deep bond with a young Chukchi boy named Khariton. Through their shared experiences and cultural exchange, the novel explores themes of identity, survival, and the power of human connection amidst the backdrop of the Arctic wilderness.

  9. 9. There Once Lived A Woman Who Tried To Kill Her Neighbour’s Baby by Ludmila Petrushevskaya

    In this collection of dark and haunting tales set in Soviet Russia, Ludmila Petrushevskaya explores the depths of human desperation and the complexities of human relationships. Through her vivid and evocative storytelling, she delves into the lives of ordinary individuals who are trapped in a web of loneliness, despair, and unfulfilled desires. With a blend of realism and the supernatural, Petrushevskaya crafts a mesmerizing narrative that exposes the raw emotions and hidden secrets that lie within the human heart.

  10. 10. Klotsvog by Margarita Khemlin

    "Klotsvog" is a poignant and introspective novel that follows the life of Maya Abramovna Klotsvog, a Jewish woman living in Soviet Russia during the 20th century. Through Maya's perspective, the book explores themes of identity, love, and the struggles faced by Jews in a society plagued by anti-Semitism. With a blend of humor and tragedy, the story delves into Maya's personal relationships, her experiences as a mother and wife, and her resilience in the face of adversity. Ultimately, "Klotsvog" is a profound exploration of one woman's journey through life and her unwavering spirit in the midst of societal challenges.

  11. 11. The Power Of Darkness by Leo Tolstoy

    "The Power of Darkness" is a harrowing drama that delves into the depths of human depravity and the struggle for redemption. Set in rural Russia, the narrative follows a peasant named Nikita, who, driven by lust and greed, becomes entangled in a web of tragic events, including adultery, infanticide, and deception. As the consequences of his actions spiral out of control, the story exposes the stark realities of the moral decay and the social ills of the time. The play ultimately confronts the audience with the profound impact of sin and the possibility of forgiveness, posing challenging questions about the nature of evil and the potential for moral transformation.

  12. 12. The White Guard by Mikhail Bulgakov

    Set against the backdrop of the Ukrainian city of Kiev during the tumultuous Russian Civil War of 1918, the novel follows the Turbin family as they navigate the chaos and shifting allegiances of the time. The story focuses on the two Turbin brothers, who are officers in the White Guard, a faction fighting to preserve the Russian Empire against the encroaching Bolshevik Red Army. As the city is besieged and alliances falter, the family grapples with questions of loyalty, survival, and the meaning of home amidst the collapse of the old world and the uncertainty of the new. The narrative combines a rich portrayal of historical events with a deeply personal family saga, exploring themes of courage, brotherhood, and the tragic futility of war.

  13. 13. The Sacred Book Of The Werewolf by Victor Pelevin

    This novel introduces readers to a captivating world where ancient myth meets modern life through the eyes of a two-thousand-year-old werefox named A Hu-Li. Disguised as a teenage girl, she navigates contemporary Russia, using her supernatural abilities and seductive powers to survive in a society dominated by men. Her life takes a dramatic turn when she falls in love with a werewolf, a figure representing the novel's exploration of themes such as identity, transformation, and the search for spiritual enlightenment. Set against the backdrop of post-Soviet Russia, the narrative delves into philosophical discussions, blending Eastern philosophies with the complexities of modern existence, all while maintaining a sharp sense of humor and a deep sense of mysticism.

  14. 14. Absurdistan by Gary Shteyngart

    "Absurdistan" is a satirical novel by Gary Shteyngart that follows the story of Misha Vainberg, a wealthy and overweight Russian-American who finds himself stuck in the fictional country of Absurdistan after his father's death. The country is on the brink of a civil war, and Misha must navigate his way through the corrupt and absurd political landscape to get back to America and reunite with his love interest. Along the way, he encounters a cast of eccentric characters and experiences the absurdity of life in a country where everything seems to be falling apart.

  15. 15. Temnaya Zvezda Hroniki Artsii by Vera Kamsha

    This book is a captivating entry in a high fantasy series that transports readers to the mythical world of Artsia, a land teeming with magic, political intrigue, and ancient prophecies. The narrative weaves together the fates of diverse characters, from noble warriors and cunning mages to ambitious monarchs, as they navigate a complex tapestry of alliances and enmities. Central to the story is the quest for the Temnaya Zvezda, a powerful artifact that holds the potential to alter the balance of power and shape the destiny of Artsia. With its richly developed world-building, intricate plot, and moral complexities, the novel explores themes of power, loyalty, and the quest for identity, making it a compelling read for fans of epic fantasy.

  16. 16. Night Watch by Sergei Lukyanenko

    This novel is set in a contemporary Moscow where the forces of light and darkness coexist in a delicate balance, each side policing the other to prevent the other from gaining too much power. The story follows Anton Gorodetsky, a member of the Night Watch, an organization of Others who have sworn to serve the Light, as he navigates a complex world of magic, morality, and political intrigue. Anton's journey takes him through various missions that challenge his beliefs and loyalties, forcing him to confront difficult truths about the nature of good and evil. As he delves deeper into the shadowy world of the Others, he encounters vampires, witches, and other supernatural beings, all while trying to prevent a catastrophic war between the forces of Light and Darkness.

  17. 17. Metro 2033 by Dmitri Glukhovsky

    This novel is set in a post-apocalyptic Moscow, where the remnants of humanity have taken refuge in the underground metro system after a devastating nuclear war. The story follows Artyom, a young man who embarks on a perilous journey through the dark, mutant-infested tunnels of the metro to seek help against a new, mysterious threat that endangers the fragile existence of the metro's survivors. Along the way, he encounters various factions vying for power and control, confronts his deepest fears, and questions his beliefs and the nature of reality itself. The narrative weaves together themes of survival, hope, and the enduring human spirit in the face of overwhelming darkness.

Reading Statistics

Click the button below to see how many of these books you've read!


If you're interested in downloading this list as a CSV file for use in a spreadsheet application, you can easily do so by clicking the button below. Please note that to ensure a manageable file size and faster download, the CSV will include details for only the first 500 books.