“The Possessed,” the first published book-length work of Stanford professor, Elif Batuman, is as much fun as a barrel of monkeys. Well, okay, maybe you don’t think Russian novels are funny and, if that’s the case, you probably won’t believe that people who love to read Russian novels can be funny, either. But that’s not true because Elif Batuman invites the reader, academe and laywoman alike, into the scholarly and rarified world of comparative literature with such originality and honesty that this is a book that ought not to be passed up.
Batuman, who know lives in San Francisco, takes us along her academic journey which begins on the East Coast (born in New Jersey and raised in New York) upon her graduation from Harvard. At Stanford she enters the comparative literature department to continue her studies.