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Publisher's Summary

The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories is a bizarre and colorful collection containing the finest short stories by the iconic Russian writer Nikolai Gogol. From the witty and Kafkaesque "The Nose", where a civil servant wakes up one day to find his nose missing, to the moving and evocative "The Overcoat", about a reclusive man whose only ambition is to replace his old, threadbare coat, Gogol gives us a unique take on the absurd. Gogol’s tales of inconsequential civil servants, mixing the everyday with the surreal, foreshadow the work of his later acolytes, Bulgakov and Kafka. None is more cutting than the main story, "The Diary of a Madman", where a government clerk descends to insanity, claiming that he can communicate with dogs and that he is next in line to the throne of Spain. Translator: Constance Garnett. 

©2018 Public Domain (P)2018 Naxos AudioBooks

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Delightful start to finish

I can’t imagine a better narrator than Nicholas Boulton for this delightful collection of stories. Every character gets his due, every lyrical description of nature its music.

I’d read The Nose and The Overcoat but had never dipped far into Gogol’s stories. They are grouped into Petersburg Tales (6 stories) and Ukrainian Tales (7 stories), and the two sets of stories are quite different. The Nose and The Overcoat belong to the first group, and while the stories are urban and mostly realistic, there are (obviously) flights of fancy and absurdity. The second group, mostly populated by Cossack soldiers and villagers, occasionally takes a darker turn: there are witches, devils, and wizards weaving in and out of these stories: there are dead men who rise from their graves and moan about being stifled.

One of them, Viy, is the scariest ghost story I’ve ever read. Another one, Christmas Eve, pictures a world where witches and devils show up in a small village to wreak havoc. A blacksmith loves a young woman, but she sets him an almost impossible task: to give her a pair of shoes worthy of the Tsaritsa. But the story hardly follows a straight line. It reads like an improvisation, a story told by a master storyteller who had no idea how his story would end when he started telling it. I mean that in a good way: the story is always surprising and ultimately very satisfying.

A great collection and a treat to listen to. It left me hungering for more Gogol.

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

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The Diary of a Madman and other stories

The Diary of a Madman and other stories
By Nikolai Gogol

Gogol's stories are so entertaining, so fresh & original. As a writer, he has been given great imaginative gifts. Other stories include the Nevski Prospect, The Portrait, Dead Souls, The Overcoat, Christmas Eve, The Nose and the Inspector General.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful