For 30 years I've proselytized this book, but converted not a single person. In my opinion this is consistently the greatest work of art ever created, greater than 'Tristan and Isolde', 'Ulysses', 'Moby-Dick', 'The Idiot', 'Hamlet', or any of those other works of genius which find profound patterns of beauty in extremes of human chaos. This plunges deeper into the chaos and brings up stranger, wilder, more intimate forms of beauty than any of them, and then weaves them into a more coherent whole. I suppose most people can't get past the narrator being an unreliable, disturbingly schizophrenic prat, out-Gogoling Gogol; but this is a joyful, wonderfully funny subversion of all our comfort zones. Oh well.
Malmstad and Maguire's translation is the one to get, not McDuff's turgid effort.