Very early in life I was introduced to European and Russian literature and later South American writers like Borges and Fuentes. There was so much depth, which we later recognized as the bi-product of much suffering and therefore much questioning of why we are here, etc.
I agree that the length of these books is a barrier for modern people with short attention spans. When I finished Solzhenitsyn’s Gulag, I found it was the first of three volumes. Powerful book on its own and over 600 words but compelling. The Red Wheel (of which this is first volume) is seven volumes. This first is 800+ pages. When I decided to read it, I was like a little boy on standing on the edge of the deep end of the pool wondering if I was getting into something over my head.
60 chapters in and I am still reading with anticipation as regards what happens next. I guess that is what makes a great story.
I’ve been writing for over 40 years, but while working full time I wrote short stories because I like the quicker payoff. My novel took near 20 years from start to publication…But all the great novelists also wrote shorter works, novellas and stories.
Your comments stimulated too many thoughts at once and I return to the first. Yes, there is power in the prose of Russian (and European) authors.
Of this, much more could be said… Thanks for the note.