Russian thought is on an epic scale. Two fields in which Russians have made deep contributions are mathematics and chess, but their literature is nothing to sneeze at either. Dostoevsky is a personal favorite, and I’m currently deep in Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.
Did I say “deep”? The book has 31 chapters, and I’m in Chapter 18, so “deep” is no exaggeration. But the protagonist of the novel, Anna Karenina, has just been introduced — in Chapter 18! Half the book has been devoted to paving the way for this introduction and setting subplots in motion.
So, I hereby formulate the following law: If the protagonist of a novel has not put in an appearance midway through the book or by Chapter 15 (whichever occurs first), it must be a Russian novel. 🙂