What struck me about The Artamonov Business by Maxim Gorky is how difficult life in Russia was. Where Anna Karenina portrayed life among upper class Russian society, The Artamonov Business follows the life of a recently freed serf mill founder and his children as they build their mill and become involved in town life, and ultimately wind up on the wrong side of the revolution.
The book is a really good, if sad, story, but yikes. Life is tough. There are many dead children. People seem so unhappy. I can see why many people thought that the revolution would make a difference - because life was so difficult before, how could it get anything other than better?
I had not read anything by Gorky before and I'm definitely glad I read this book.
Oh, and Google Translation helped me with the Russian in the title. I actually studied Russian in school but years of disuse have made me incredibly rusty!