God, I'm happy I recovered this post. (The post on Norway will have to wait for now, since I need to go look for the pictures I used in it once again.)
I almost never read anything by the Russian authors any more. Russian literature has not been able to recover from the political, ideological, and artistic constraints imposed on it in 1934. When literature is not allowed to develop naturally, it withers away and dies. And this is exactly what happened to literature written in Russian. I have tried for years to find good Russian writers but they don't seemk to exist any more.
This is why I was happy when my favorite Times Literary Supplement published a long review of Kamennyi most by a writer named Terekhov. I immediately bought this huge 800+ volume and started reading it. Of course, as was to be expected, I discovereed some really bad writing, a complete incapacity of the author to use his own language correctly, and a boring attempt to imitate Western authors in a very clumsy manner.
However, buying and reading this book was not a total waste. It helped me realize that the guiding principle of the Russian prose writing by men is hatred of and disgust with sex. (Until well into the XXth century there were no well-known female prose writers in Russia, which has always been a profoundly patriarchal society. So there is no literary tradition to speak of in the case of Russian female novelists, and I don't know if my argument would apply).
The main character of Kamennyi most (in Russian) has a lot of sex with a lot of women. His descriptions of these sex acts are filled with so much hatred and disgust that they are impossible to translate. I tried to think of translations for them but in vain. I simply don't know any words in English that would transmit the same emotional charge.
For anybody who read the XIX century Russian novelists, however, this is not surprising. The same hatred of human sexuality informs Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata, Chekhov's The Duel, pretty much all works by Dostoyevsky. The list can go on ad infinitum. There is no way anybody can understand why the protagonist of Terekhov's latest novel hates sex so much, unless one has read his literary precursors.
So if anybody is looking for a doctoral dissertation topic in Slavic Studies, feel free to use this one.