About this title:
Regarded as the first great masterpiece of Russian literature, Dead Souls mixes realism and symbolism for a vivid and highly original portrait of Russian life. Chichikov, a mysterious stranger, arrives in a provincial town with a bizarre but seductive proposition for local landowners. He proposes to buy the names of their serfs who have died but who are still registered on the census, saving their owners from paying tax on them. But what collateral will Chichikov receive for these souls ? Full of larger-than-life Dickensian characters rogues and scoundrels, landowners and serfs, conniving petty officials, and the wily antihero Chichikov Dead Souls is a devastating comic satire on social hypocrisy.
About the Author:
NICHOLAI VASILIEVICH GOGOL (1809 1852) was a Ukrainian-born Russian writer often called the "father of modern Russian realism" because he was one of the first Russian writers to criticize his country's way of life. The novels Taras Bul'ba and Dead Souls (1842), the play The Inspector-General (1836, 1842), and the short stories Diary of a Madman, The Nose, and The Overcoat (1842) are among his best-known works. With their scrupulous and scathing realism, ethical criticism, as well as philosophical depth, they remain some of the most important works of world literature.
Considered one of the great novels in the Russian canon, this book is a symbolic snapshot of nineteenth-century Russian life, and an intense literary experience. The story revolves around Chichikov, a man who comes to a Russian town to buy the souls of dead peasants who are still listed on the census, setting in motion a story of greed and distrust. Narrator Tom Weiner has a deep, robust, nasally tinged voice that captures the tone of the book at the beginning, but he doesn't vary his pitch and characters enough to keep the work moving. He also reads a bit too quickly; slowing down would allow us to more easily digest the philosophical aspects of the story. R.I.G. © AudioFile 2010, Portland, Maine
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