Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Reading Challenge 2009 - Faithful Ruslan

Have you ever read a book that makes you love, feel sorry for, empathize with a cold blooded killer? Your probably thinking - she is crazy, why would I ever feel such a way. Pity a brute - Never! Well, then you should read Faithful Ruslan. Ruslan is not a human, but a dog; a dog trained to keep prisoners in line in the old re-education camps of Siberia. The story opens after the fall of Stalin, as the camps are being emptied and their is no need for a guard dog anymore. The story continues to follow Ruslan as tries walk the wire between civilian life and Service work. The story is graphic, but is an excellent piece of work. It would also be a great novel to share with older high schoolers to begin a study of Russian history. It will bring up questions of political theory, duty, loyalty, free will, courage, and determination. It will allow you to enter the genre of allegory and perhaps lead you to a conversation about the blessings of our Constitution, specifically the 1st Amendment. Be sure to read the background on the author, Georgii Vladimov (real name: Georgii Nikolaevich Volosevich) as well.

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