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Publisher's Summary

Russian literature exudes an atmosphere of mysticism, which is said to be a natural result of the simplicity of her people. Often, instead of being "about" anything, Russian stories sometimes seem to be the "thing" in itself. Be this as it may, it is an undeniable fact that with hardly any portent of future greatness to come, Russian literature suddenly sprang fully developed into existence in the 19th century. One after another, from Pushkin to Chekhov, some of the greatest writers who have ever lived emerged from the steppes, forests, and cities of Mother Russia.

Selections in Volume I:

  • In "The Shot", by Alexander Pushkin, a duel is postponed so that it may be continued at a more propitious time.
  • "The Overcoat", by Nikolai Gogol, is the hilarious tale of a lowly bureaucrat who suddenly finds himself in need of a new overcoat.
  • "The Tryst", by Ivan Turgenev, is a gorgeous, masterfully written first person narrative of a hunter who overhears two young people: one who loves and one who does not.
  • In "The Wedding", by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, when a man is invited to a children's ball, he witnesses an amazing incident. Five years later, a posh wedding clarifies everything.
  • In "A Prisoner in the Caucasus", by Leo Tolstoy, Tartar rebels take a Russian officer prisoner in order to collect a ransom. But the officer's one thought throughout his cruel ordeal is to escape.
  • In "An Upheaval", by Anton Chekhov, a young governess accused of theft learns the identity of the real culprit.
© and (P)2002 Audio Connoisseur

Critic Reviews

"Charlton Griffin is an extraordinarily gifted narrator and his performance is enhanced with music and sound effects. These are the classics." (AudioFile)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall

Excellent

I did not the narrator Charlton Griffin: he is an amazing reader, with beautiful voice and an amazing variety of intonations. Look forward to buy new audiobooks read by him. The Russian short stories are extremely entertaining. Highly recommended

14 of 15 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • john
  • GLEN ALLEN, VA, United States
  • 02-25-10

Just few hors d'oeuvres of Russian literature

Excellent narration matched to timeless short stories. Russia is a cold and different world from America and these shorts are a good, yet tiny, introduction to the world of Russian literature.

4 of 4 people found this review helpful

  • Overall

The finest!

This is one of the best performances I've listened. The music is very thoughtfully chosen. Highly recommended.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Maggie
  • New York, NY, United States
  • 06-26-11

Great collection!

This is a really good introduction to classic Russian literature. The music was, however, a bit distracting when played at the same time as the narration. In addition, the narrator seemed to be a bit bored by some of the stories.

I liked the Gogol the best and will be looking for more by him.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story
  • CLRFL
  • Miami, FL
  • 07-05-17

well narrated,, typically bleak russian stories.

narration is solid and well done. stories are traditionally russian in their bleakness. don't look for happy endings! even with that component, the book is worth hearing.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Unique stories

These Russian stories have a different "motive" for their existence than do Western stories. Very entertaining. Human nature is always the same, anywhere, anytime.

  • Overall
  • Performance
  • Story

Nice selection of classic Russian shorts

If you could sum up Classic Russian Short Stories, Volume 1 in three words, what would they be?

Very nice stories.

What did you like best about this story?

I liked how different stories from different Russian authors were included, that way you get a nice taste of what Russian literature has to offer.

Would you listen to another book narrated by Charlton Griffin?

Yes, I quite like his narration. I do have one qualm: his female voices sound unnaturally high-pitched, almost as if in post production they raised the pitch (I don't know if this is the case or not).

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Russian literature is, for me, always packed with emotion. I didn't exactly laugh or cry outright, but I did feel the emotion in the stories.

Any additional comments?

The music adds a nice touch.

  • Overall

AWFUL

Some of the greatest writing totally ruined by odious background music. What purpose could possibly be served by adding mu-ZAK .....

5 of 12 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
  • Joseph
  • ALAMEDA, CA, USA
  • 02-10-10

course voice

Good, but I'm not sure how they made the classic list.

0 of 7 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Stephen HJ
  • 03-13-15

Brits Beware! American Translations

For British listeners, your journey to another time and culture my be spoiled by being viewed through the eyes of a rival culture - American. This was for me most annoying in the "The Overcoat". The story centres on a clerk and by the fiftieth time it had been pronounced to rhyme with "Burke", plus a generous sprinkling of "sidewalks" "candies" etc. I was close to giving up. In the end however the quality of the stories won through - just.

Each of the six stories is by a different author and their styles vary widely - like pictures in a gallery. These range from the impressionists, sketching the outline of a moment, to figurative painters, their pictures full of detail. There are "genre" pictures and allegories. A rich and varied mix.

For those of you who are not familiar with Charlton Griffin (like me) his honeyed voice is at times like a transatlantic Derek Jacobi. He reads well and is especially good at capturing the humour and irony. However some may find the voices he uses for women and children a little strange. This is always a challenge for readers and most merely use a change of inflection. Griffin goes much further and the voice he chooses often restricts variation and emotional range.

It is very good news that these classic tales are available as audio books but for Brits an English translation with a UK voice would be far preferable.

3 of 4 people found this review helpful

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  • Performance
  • Story
  • Angelita
  • 11-27-15

Marvellously read

Nuanced reading, good sparing use of music, great stories. Will seek out other books read by Griffin.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful