38 of 38 people found the following review helpful
Classic Russian lit that's funny and very readable,
This review is from: Dead Souls (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This is a deservedly famous book by a great but troubled author. 'Dead Souls' was in fact just the first novel in a planned trilogy, as Gogol went mad and died, having destroyed most of part two, before completing his grand plan.
What's left is a bizarre, unique and often amusing story about a man travelling through provincial Tsarist Russia, buying dead souls (ie serfs who had died but were still listed as alive), as part of a large scale con. The characters he encounters on his way are very memorable and brilliantly drawn, and the style teeters on the edge of absurdity without ever quite toppling over. Also included are tantalising fragments of the beginning of book two, but this novel stands on its own, and has the most wonderful, magical ending.
'Dead Souls' is well worth a read as it is an accessible classic of Russian literature without the heavy, doom laden psychology of Dostoyevsky or the vast panorama and cast of characters employed by Tolstoy. You will never read anything else like this one.