US writer and academic Elif Batuman fell in love with the great Russian writers after reading 'Anna Karenina' some years ago.
Broadcast date: Tuesday 31 August 2010 (612 ABC Brisbane)
She wanted to explore the link between real life and books, and when she decided to chase up the lives and stories of the likes of Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky, she had no idea of the extraordinary places it would lead her.
Some of the many things she discovered on her bizarrre journey include the discovery that Isaac Babel once met and probably interrogated the creator of the original King Kong movie on a Polish battlefield - and that in the old Uzbek language they have 70 words for duck.
The Possessed: Adventures with Russian Books and the People Who Read Them published by Text
Brisbane Writers' Festival: Thurs 2 Sept GoMA Cinema A 2.30 pm/Sat 4 Sept The Edge 1.30 pm
LISTEN TO CONVERSATION HERE (ABC LOCAL RADIO)