Collected Stories (Modern Classics) Paperback – 28 Feb 1974
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"Amazing not only as literature but as biography."
"Marvelously subtle, tragic, and often comic."
A monumental book.--Jonathan Rosen
A triumph Peter Constantine's translation is extraordinary.--James Wood"
A celebration of literary genius framed by twentieth-century tragedy...[Babel's stories] have an electrifying cumulative impact...He is a writer who stabs the mind and the heart and the inner eye with short, savage strokes.--Richard Bernstein
A triumph...Peter Constantine's translation is extraordinary.--James Wood --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
About the Author
Isaac Babel died in a Soviet gulag in 1941. Peter Constantine won the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Prize for his translation of Thomas Mann. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top customer reviews
But Babel presents a far less comfortable picture of mankind. He's writing many of these stories from the viewpoint of a Jewish intellectual serving as an officer in a Cossack regiment of the Red Army. That's not made up, either; extraordinary as it sounds, it was Babel's own military real-life experience. Unsentimentally he describes acts of generosity alongside shocking barbarity. And he doesn't pretend the latter is any less human or explicable than the former. If there is any act of Othering, it's Babel's own reflective view of himself and the civilized attitudes inculcated in him by his middle-class Jewish background. It's not that we can't see what Babel himself stands for - it comes as no surprise that Stalin had him murdered in the late '1930s - but his way of observing human behaviour holds up a horribly clear mirror. You'll come away from reading this feeling deeply disturbed.
The Red Cavalry tales take up most of the book, but there are also Runyonesque stories of Jewish gangsters in Odessa and semi-autobiographical accounts of Babel's early life, including some vivid up-close descriptions of antisemitic pogroms that make for very uneasy reading.
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