Yet beneath Kolenkorov's intrusive narration and sublime blathering, the stories are genuinely moving. They tell tales of unrequited love and amorous misadventures among down-on-their-luck musicians, provincial damsels, aspiring poets, and liberal aristocrats hopelessly out of place in the new Russia, against a backdrop of overcrowded apartments, scheming, and daydreaming. Zoshchenko's deadpan style and sly ventriloquy mask a biting critique of Soviet life--and perhaps life in general. An original perspective on Soviet society in the 1920s and simply uproariously funny, Sentimental Tales at last shows Anglophone readers why Zoshchenko is considered among the greatest humorists of the Soviet era.
Publisher: Columbia University Press
Number of pages: 240
Dimensions: 216 x 140 mm
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
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 "
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