"Ever since I saw the animated adaptation of "Anastasia" in 1997, I was totally taken with the idea of Russia and Eastern Europe. Despite the rather childish incentive to study Russian, I have not found a way to turn back. While the language, with all of its cases and complexity, has been a rewarding challenge, it’s the literature that has kept me hostage. From Tolstoy to Gogol to Dostoevsky, there are few writers holding such powerful lenses to the human experience and few places more naturally obscure than Russia."