"Michael Katz has provided us with an elegant, highly readable translation of a work that is an illuminating historical artifact of the Emancipation . . . This translation, rich in material for the social and cultural historian, should be of interest to historians of nineteenth-century Russia, and would work well in undergraduate classes at all levels."—The Russian Review
“If you are convinced that ‘leftist’ nineteenth-century Russian literature is long-winded and boring, prepare yourself for a big surprise. Hard Times makes for an excellent read and offers a well-informed and realistic picture of life in the Russian countryside after the abolition of serfdom in 1861. Thanks to Michael Katz’s compelling translation, this gem of Russian realism is now finally available to the English-speaking reader.—Otto Boele, Leiden University
“Michael Katz’s translation makes available an important component of Russian literary and cultural history of the mid-19th century. Sleptsov’s novel, and the questions it poses, very much follows in the tradition of Sand’s Jacques, Herzen’s Who Is To Blame? and Chernyshevsky’s What Is To Be Done?”—Andrew M. Drozd, University of Alabama
“All teachers of Russian literature in translation owe a great debt to Michael R. Katz for his readable translation of one of the most important works of nineteenth-century Russian literature. . . an illuminating snapshot of gentry and peasant life in the immediate post-Emancipation period. Hard Times would be a valuable text for any course dealing with the transformations of the 1860s in Russia.”—Susanna Fusso, Wesleyan University
"This translation of Sleptsov's 1865 novel is a welcome addition to nineteenth century Russian literature in English. Contrary to what readers might expect of a work by one of the prominent radical voices of the mid-1860s about competing liberal and radical calls for change in post-Emancipation Russia, Hard Times is not only readable but skillfully constructed and at times, indeed, quite beautiful in Katz's rendering. . . . Katz's translation will help introduce this richly deserving novel into courses on nineteenth-century Russian literature, culture, and history."
—Slavic and East European Journal