We discussed this one over drinks and snacks at Crooked Tree Coffee House. It is literally located in a house, and it's great. Cute couches and creative end tables are in several doorless rooms, though be careful about the bathroom's tricky lock (at least, Megan had a hard time with it). I (Kim) tried one of the Italian sodas they can fizz up for you--coconut. It was very sweet, but satisfying. Megan got some hummus with pita and cucumbers that she recommends, and Robert got some food too, though he'd finished it by the time Megan and I arrived since Megan was racing up to the last second to finish the book. Tsk, tsk, Megan.
No doubt things were lost in translation. Between the four of us, we had three versions. I liked mine quite a bit--the 2009 translated by Marian Schwartz. It has a helpful translator's note and long introduction. Megan had the Glenny translation which is the oldest. Charity had Cockrell's--the 2012. The names got translated differently and some characterizations had different grammatical arrangements. In Schwartz's version, inanimate objects are often described as being agents (In one line, a four-story building "leaps" away from Nikolka). The most troubling translation difference was that Megan and Charity's translations seem to give a little plot away prematurely in at least two instances (SPOILER ALERT: the mother's death in the opening page and Alexei's being alive near the end).
So, did we like it? Yeah. It was good or "very ok" according to Charity. Any time spent following the main characters was captivating, and the descriptions were masterful even in translation. The dream sequences were vibrant and colorful, but there were too many Russian names for us to handle, and there were extra political explanatory sections which we didn't care about and which didn't explain much after all.