I know of no satirist more angry, more warlike than Mikhail Zoshchenko. Yet I love him not for his anger, I love him for his astonishing irony--for the fact that it is sometimes difficult to determine the target of his mockery: is it his characters, his readers, himself? This new translation preserves Zoshchenko's irony in all its force.--Andrey Kurkov, author of Death and the Penguin
Zoshchenko's satirical prowess brought him fame in the Soviet Union, and these Sentimental Tales, with their dark humor and sharp parody, rank among his best writings. Boris Dralyuk's fine translations succeed wonderfully in conveying the innovative style and unique narrative voice of the originals.--Barry Scherr, Dartmouth College
In the face of ideological pressure to produce heroic forms, Zoshchenko's playful, sly, gallows-humored Sentimental Tales responds with superfluous men. If life is a comedy for those who think and a tragedy for those who feel, Zoshchenko gives us comedy silhouetted in unspoken tragedy. This many-layered pleasure is brought closer to the contemporary reader by a nimble translation by Boris Dralyuk.--Janet Fitch, author of The Revolution of Marina M. and Paint It Black
Mikhail Zoshchenko is one of Russia's great humorists, not only of the Soviet era but of all time. Boris Dralyuk's translation of Sentimental Tales reads beautifully, and the English language work is a real tour de force. It transmits Zoshchenko's quirky style while still maintaining a natural, easy flow, with well-judged rhythms and cadences that echo Zoshchenko's own.--Lesley Milne, University of Nottingham
Zoshchenko is the wittiest and most perceptive of Soviet satirists. Boris Dralyuk is the first translator to succeed in bringing his wit into English. Comedy is largely a matter of timing, and Dralyuk, like Zoshchenko himself, has an impeccable sense of rhythm.--Robert Chandler, translator of Vasily Grossman, Andrei Platonov, Teffi, and many others
A book that would make Gogol guffaw.--Kirkus Reviews
Mikhail Zoshchenko masterfully exhibits a playful seriousness. . . . Juxtaposing joyful wit with the bleakness of Soviet Russia, Sentimental Tales is a potent antidote for Russian literature's dour reputation.--Foreword Reviews
The only thing harder than cracking jokes may be translating them. Perhaps this is why Mikhail Zoshchenko remains a lesser-known Russian writer among English-language readers, despite being one of the Soviet Union's most beloved humorists, a satirist in the best traditions of Gogol. Boris Dralyuk's new translation of Sentimental Tales, a collection of Zoshchenko's stories from the 1920s, is a delight that brings the author's wit to life--The Economist
Essential for all lovers of Russian literature in its many forms. Humorous, profound, multi-faceted and tragic, these Sentimental Tales will have you laughing and crying at the same time.--Karen Langley "Shiny New Books "
About the Author
Mikhail Zoshchenko (1894-1958) was a leading Soviet satirist. His stories of the 1920s made him enormously popular with readers. In 1946 he was expelled from the Soviet Writers' Union. He never recovered from this trauma and died of heart failure in 1958. Boris Dralyuk is the editor of 1917: Stories and Poems from the Russian Revolution (2016) and coeditor of The Penguin Book of Russian Poetry (2015).