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19 of 19 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Sorcerer!, 10 Aug 2008
The version I read is in two parts: Part I is composed of 8 short stories based on Ukrainian folktales. All of the stories are weird, sport something of the macabre, are funny and insensibly wonderful. The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled With Ivan Nikiforovich and The Night Before Christmas are favourites. Viy can easily be the inspiration for a horror movie. Some of these tales reminded me of Bulgakov though he came later. Part II is 7 stories set in St Petersburg. They are not as engaging and magical as part one but they do have spine-chilling twists too. The Nose is reminiscent of Kafka but again Kafka came later.

This was my first introduction to Gogol and he impresses mightily. This is gather around the candlelight storytelling and you know you're going to have nightmares afterwards - sorcerers and witches and the devil himself. Timing is exquisite and Gogol knows how to lead the reader by the nose up until the point you really want to skip a few pages just to see if there's a happy ending. Don't!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Gogols best work, 8 Nov 2011
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An excellent well written collection of tales that would serve as a good introduction to Russian literature ,or even early European existentialism.The book is in two halves the first consisting of folk based tales and the second made up of urban stories with at times a dark surreal edge to them.I'm not in a position to comment on the efficacy of the translation but it read well for a piece of literature from 150 years ago.In my opinion these stories are of a much better quality both in structure and prose than the unfinished Dead Souls or the overly romantic heroism of Taras Bulba.
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11 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Mad, Maniacal and Magnificent, 20 Feb 2010
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S Wood (Scotland) - See all my reviews
(TOP 1000 REVIEWER)   
For sheer energetic exuberance, vivid and colourful language not to mention satire with more than a hint of madness there is no one quite like Nikolai Gogol. This collection translated by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky and published by Granta includes thirteen of his tales. The first part of the book deals with those that are set in the Ukraine and have strong elements of folk tales as well as the supernatural but written in Gogols unmistakable style. The best Ukrainian tales are those where the supernatural element is minimal or absent, in particular the beautiful "Old World Landowners" and "The Story of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich".

In the second section the tales are situated in St Petersburg. With the exception of the rather whimsical and slightly flat "The Diary of a Madman" the quality of those stories are fantastic. My particular favourite is "The Nose" in which the unfortunate collegiate assessor Kovalev wakes up one morning absent his nose, which is apparently on the loose in St Petersburg in the guise of a Privy Councilor. Sounds ridiculous, but part of the fun in Gogol is in the matter of fact way the narrative runs. On the surface he takes these surreal facts at face value while having tremendous fun with the twists and turns in the telling. It has me chuckling away to myself at any rate. There are darker more uncomfortable stories in particular "The Portrait" which is a singular and sinister story of the artist squandering his talents for worldly fame. "The Overcoat" falls in part between the two, being dark as well as amusing.

Gogol is always a joy to read, and this is as comprehensive collection of his shorter works as I've seen. If you've got thus far without reading him then perhaps the Dover Classics edition of The Overcoat (it includes "The Nose") is the best place to start.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Well presented, 23 Jan 2014
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This review is from: The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
Of all the stories, the one enjoyed most was THE DIARY OF A MAD MAN. It is an insightful story by Gogol that is full of humor, sadness, tragedy and hope. The literary style is first class and fully exposes the inner turmoil of a man with a conflict in his soul. The House of the Dead The Union Moujik Poor Folk, explore that depth of human suffering that leads to depravity for individuals or groups of people. The other short stories are equally masterpieces that we can read repeatedly without becoming bored.
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11 of 16 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant, 4 Aug 2005
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John (Charleston, USA) - See all my reviews
Of all the stories, the one enjoyed most was DIARY OF A MAD MAN. It is an insightful story by Gogol that is full of humor, sadness, tragedy and hope. The literary style is first class and fully exposes the inner turmoil of a man with a conflict in his soul. HOUSE OF THE DEAD, UNION MOUJIK, POOR FOLKS, explore that depth of human suffering that leads to depravity for individuals or groups of people. The other short stories are equally masterpieces that we can read repeatedly without becoming bored.
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14 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Absolutely terrific author!, 22 July 2002
This review is from: The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol (Vintage Classics) (Paperback)
I would recommend it to everyone who values healthy sarcasm. Read it in Russian (if you know Russian). Unfortunately there's no such thing as a perfect translation. Good buy for a thinking individual.
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The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol (Vintage Classics)
The Collected Tales of Nikolai Gogol (Vintage Classics) by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (Paperback - 1 July 1999)
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