12 of 12 people found the following review helpful
on 21 August 2012
This book consists of two parts. Part 1 ("Ukrainian Tales") has seven short stories which were selected by the translators from the "Evenings on a Farm near Dikanka" (1831-32) and "Mirgorod" (1835). These are folk tales in a rather weird world of witches, proud Cossacks, devils and magic spells. Gogol apparently based these stories mainly on the tales told by his Ukrainian mother.
Part 2 ("Petersburg Tales") has six well-known short stories. I particularly like "Nevsky Prospect". The atmospheric descriptions of St. Petersburg (where Gogol worked as an official for a while) are very good. "The Overcoat" and "The Nose" are phantasmal tales, while "The Diary of a Madman" is rather disturbing.
The translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (a husband and wife team) is excellent. It brings out the author's wit and humour, while the characters in the stories vividly come to life. There are extensive notes which are of great help to the reader. I whole-heartedly recommend this book (a good hardcover edition). (Granta Books also publishes exactly the same version in a paperback edition.)
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
on 23 January 2014
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.