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A very comprehensive anthology of the Russian short stories in the English language, which gives a fair notion of the achievement in that field. Contains over 20 stories written by various Russian authors, including, "The Gentleman from San Francisco" by 1933 Nobel Prize winner Bunin, and stories by Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Saltykov, Korolenko, Garsh A very comprehensive anthology of the Russian short stories in the English language, which gives a fair notion of the achievement in that field. Contains over 20 stories written by various Russian authors, including, "The Gentleman from San Francisco" by 1933 Nobel Prize winner Bunin, and stories by Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Saltykov, Korolenko, Garshin, Chekhov, Sologub, Potapenko, Semyonov, Gorky, Artzybashev, Kuprin, Andreyev, and others.


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A very comprehensive anthology of the Russian short stories in the English language, which gives a fair notion of the achievement in that field. Contains over 20 stories written by various Russian authors, including, "The Gentleman from San Francisco" by 1933 Nobel Prize winner Bunin, and stories by Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Saltykov, Korolenko, Garsh A very comprehensive anthology of the Russian short stories in the English language, which gives a fair notion of the achievement in that field. Contains over 20 stories written by various Russian authors, including, "The Gentleman from San Francisco" by 1933 Nobel Prize winner Bunin, and stories by Pushkin, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Saltykov, Korolenko, Garshin, Chekhov, Sologub, Potapenko, Semyonov, Gorky, Artzybashev, Kuprin, Andreyev, and others.

30 review for Best Russian Short Stories

  1. 4 out of 5

    Sarah Far

    داستانهایی عجیب از بیشتر نویسندگان گمنام روسیه‌!!! از 16 داستان، فقط 6 نویسنده ش برای ما آشناست. اما عجیب که قلم اون نویسندگان تقریبا نا آشنا خیلی خیلی خوبه! پیشنهاد میکنم حتما بخوونید! در ایران این کتاب با نام "یک شب پاییزی" ترجمه شده! داستانهایی عجیب از بیشتر نویسندگان گمنام روسیه‌!!! از 16 داستان، فقط 6 نویسنده ش برای ما آشناست. اما عجیب که قلم اون نویسندگان تقریبا نا آشنا خیلی خیلی خوبه! پیشنهاد میکنم حتما بخوونید! در ایران این کتاب با نام "یک شب پاییزی" ترجمه شده!

  2. 4 out of 5

    Anusha Narasimhan

    Given that I'm a Russian literature newbie, this collection was helpful in exploring Russian authors from the golden age through short stories. I found the introduction which talked about the authors and their style of writing quite helpful. It made me gauge what to expect from the stories and also appreciate them better. You can read this here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13437/... Given that I'm a Russian literature newbie, this collection was helpful in exploring Russian authors from the golden age through short stories. I found the introduction which talked about the authors and their style of writing quite helpful. It made me gauge what to expect from the stories and also appreciate them better. You can read this here: http://www.gutenberg.org/files/13437/...

  3. 5 out of 5

    Nadia

    I thought this anthology was great. I had never really read any works by any of the authors mentioned before and would have to credit this collection of short stories as my first introduction to Russian literature. Below is the list of the short stories that are included in this anthology - I put a ♥ next to my favorite ones. The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin - A poor man begs an old woman for her secret to winning games. Shows how poor people can be possessed by greed if they have the opp I thought this anthology was great. I had never really read any works by any of the authors mentioned before and would have to credit this collection of short stories as my first introduction to Russian literature. Below is the list of the short stories that are included in this anthology - I put a ♥ next to my favorite ones. The Queen of Spades by Alexander Pushkin - A poor man begs an old woman for her secret to winning games. Shows how poor people can be possessed by greed if they have the opportunity to. ♥The Cloak by Nikolai Gogol - An insignificant person saves up his money for a new cloak. He gets a new one, but it gets stolen. He dies soon afterwards, but haunts people and takes their cloaks. ♥The District Doctor by Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev - A doctor visits a young woman who he falls in love with. She, knowing that she will die soon, falls in love with him, just so she can love someone before she dies. She dies, and the doctor is seen recollecting this story to another one of his patient (sort of like Vertigo, if you get what I mean). ♥The Christmas Tree and the Wedding by Fyodor Dostoevsky - A man settles himself a marriage with a girl when she is around 10 or 11, knowing that when she does get married, the husband will get a lot of money. Another man witnesses him being cold and cruel to him, later on he sees the man getting married to the girl. ♥God Sees the Truth, but Waits by Leo Tolstoy - A man is accused of murdering someone and goes to jail, although he is innocent. Years later, a man shows up in the jail who is the actual murderer. He pleads guilty but by the time the innocent man is allowed out of jail, he is already dead. How a Muzhik Fed Two Officials by Mikhail Evgrafovich Saltykov - Two officials find themselves on an island, but they know so little that they can't survive on an island, even though it has plenty of food. So a Muzhik (peasant) has to cook for them, and later he makes a vessel for them to ride back home. The best part about the story is the last bit, about how the police officers give peasant some money and a beer, and then he sets off happily. The two officials basically knew nothing, the peasant had to do everything for them, and he felt grateful for the little amount of money that he got! The Shades, a Phantasy by Vladimir G. Korolenko - I wasn't very interested in this story. It was about Socrates in Athens, and it raised quite a few thought-provoking points though. ♥The Signal by Vsevolod Mikhailovich Garshin - The ending is terrifying. That is all I can say. The Darling and Other Stories by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov - A woman who is always in need of some love. She is without an opinion if she doesn't have anyone to love, basically. However, she becomes a widow a few times. Finally, she falls in love with a little boy who treats as her own son. I felt that there was supposed to be some significance in the last line, but I didn't get it. ♥The Bet by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov - A banker offers 2 million for the 15-year imprisonment of a lawyer. The story is somewhat an allegory to capital punishment, which is the subject matter in the beginning of the story. I thought it was a nice story because it shows how life is worth living - the end is particularly intense. Vanka by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov - A young boy who works as an apprentice sends a letter to his grandfather, saying that he wants to escape. This story definitely makes you feel sympathetic with the poor, but it doesn't seem to do much else. Hide and Seek by Fiodor Sologub - A little girl named Lelechka loves to play hide-and-seek with her mom, who loves her very much. One of the women who works at the house makes up a lie and says that the fact that Lelechka hides is a very bad omen. Lelechka's mom is told this, and she becomes absolutely terrified whenever Lelechka says tiu tiu! Soon afterwards, Lelechka slowly dies of a fever, and her mom goes mad. ♥Dethroned by I.N. Potapenko - A story for two woman as they try to get the latest style of dress to show off at the annual ball. The two woman are extremely shallow, but I thought it made many connections to real life. The Servant by S.T. Semyonov - A story of Gerasim, a poor man looking for a job. One of his friends finds a job for him, but when Gerasim realizes that in the process of getting a new job, someone else is going to get fired and be left with nothing, he decides not to take the job. One Autumn Night by Maxim Gorky - A man, cold and alone, is comforted by the hugs and kisses of an abused woman. Her Lover by Maxim Gorky - A woman has people write letters between her and her imaginary lover because she is really lonely. ♥Lazarus by Leonid Andreyev - A chilling story of a man who rose from the dead and inflicted a horrible fate on all who looked into his eyes. The Revolutionist by Mikhail Artsybashev - A guy watches a bunch of people get executed. ♥The Outrage by Aleksandr Kuprin - A group of thieves tries to convince at group of Jewish lawyers that they are not associated with the recent Jewish pogroms as the newspapers say they do. The story is very clever because at one moment you start to feel like you can trust the thieves, and then... The collection is available to read online for free thanks to Project Gutenberg.

  4. 5 out of 5

    Lily

    This collection offers a nice variety of writing styles, some of the stories are outstanding

  5. 5 out of 5

    Lamski Kikita

    Indeed these are some of the very best short stories from Russian literature, which I have loved since I was a little girl. Gogol with his wittiness, Chekhov with his brutal satires, and Gorky's beautiful descriptions; it just does not get any better. I will admit that loving the Russian novel is rather difficult, for it is a commitment that many are not willing to make; you enter into a contract to learn of excruciating detail of each character; some that are of great significance, and some tha Indeed these are some of the very best short stories from Russian literature, which I have loved since I was a little girl. Gogol with his wittiness, Chekhov with his brutal satires, and Gorky's beautiful descriptions; it just does not get any better. I will admit that loving the Russian novel is rather difficult, for it is a commitment that many are not willing to make; you enter into a contract to learn of excruciating detail of each character; some that are of great significance, and some that are merely a trifle and make no effect on the novel. They are long and require a sharp memory, and very very rich vocabulary. The Russian short story though, is so very easy to fall in love with and dedicate a lifelong commitment to. These stories offer social commentary, history, political criticisms, and such beauty in prose, all in a small number of pages bursting with readers' enjoyment. The Russian short story writer offers you the inside story of those whom you are not; but it isn't a story someone else is telling you about those strangers, no, it is those very strangers telling you their story themselves. Each story is original, organic, and extremely painfully honest to a point that your tears may be jerked out of your sockets. What you will find here, my friend, you will not anywhere else. These stories are sincere and will touch your heart. Don't forget that the Russian writer did not have the luxury of expressing exactly what he thought, being under censorship from one regime or another over centuries, and therefore we get these painful- and weirdly enough, funny- stories, with much a hint about one or two things not clearly stated in the storyline. I must get my hands on a Gogol and Chekhov short story collections! Favorite quotes: "I am not in the position to sacrifice the necessary in the hope of winning the superfluous" "obeying the praiseworthy custom of attacking those who cannot bite back" "his snuff box, adorned with the portrait of some general, though what general is unknown, for the place where the face should have been had been rubbed through by the finger and a square bit of paper had been pasted over it." "make yourself some gaiters out of it, because stockings are not warm. The Germans invented them in order to make more money." "It is glorious weather, not a breath of wind, clear, and frosty; it is a dark eight, but the whole village, its white roofs and streaks of smoke from the chimneys, the trees silvered with hoar-frost, and the snowdrifts, you can see it all. The sky scintillates with bright twinkling stars, and the Milky Way stands out so clearly that it looks as if it had been polished and rubber over with snow for the holidays..." "in our present state of culture, hunger of the mind is more quickly satisfied than hunger of the body." "She was a tallish, powerfully built brunette, with black, bushy eyebrows and a large coarse face as if carved out by a hatchet-- the bestial gleam of her dark eyes, her thick bass voice, her cabman-like gait and her immense muscular vigor, worthy of a fishwife, inspired me with horror." "and surrounded by darkness and empty waste, man trembled hopelessly before the dread of the Infinite"

  6. 5 out of 5

    Trang Le

    I've always been fascinated by short stories, and this anthology reinforces my love for this genre even more. I can't think of a short story in this collection that I don't like, except for Dostoevsky's, but I've never been impressed by his dry writing style. Normally "best" is a bit presumptuous, but I don't think the short stories here can get any better, from Gogol's wittiness, Chekhov's wicked satire, Gorky's supreme talent for narrative, Turgenev's humanity to other talented writers I don't I've always been fascinated by short stories, and this anthology reinforces my love for this genre even more. I can't think of a short story in this collection that I don't like, except for Dostoevsky's, but I've never been impressed by his dry writing style. Normally "best" is a bit presumptuous, but I don't think the short stories here can get any better, from Gogol's wittiness, Chekhov's wicked satire, Gorky's supreme talent for narrative, Turgenev's humanity to other talented writers I don't know (Garshin, Sologub, Semyonov etc). Yes, Russian stories are gritty and depressing but I don't find it so oppressive. They just go straight to the matter and don't shy from showing the madness of the world they're living in. As said by Murakami, writing a short story is like planting a garden. That means the Russian writers are gardeners at the top of their field.

  7. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/13437 https://www.gutenberg.org/ebooks/13437

  8. 4 out of 5

    Nickolas

    This book has been the start for my latest infatuation of collections of short stories. I’ve wanted to read Tolstoy but, like most, have been completely intimidated by size of his novels, however Anna Karenina, and War and Peace have been on my to read list since I was in High School. I thought this would be a good introduction to Russian literature and I was definitely right. I find classic Russian writing deliciously grim and depressing at times and after reading the stories with the aid of th This book has been the start for my latest infatuation of collections of short stories. I’ve wanted to read Tolstoy but, like most, have been completely intimidated by size of his novels, however Anna Karenina, and War and Peace have been on my to read list since I was in High School. I thought this would be a good introduction to Russian literature and I was definitely right. I find classic Russian writing deliciously grim and depressing at times and after reading the stories with the aid of the Introduction at the beginning of the book, you really understand the psyche of the Russian mind in 18 and 1900’s. When I was younger I attempted to read Ayn Rands ‘We the Living’ and Upton Sinclair’s ‘The Jungle’ and failed miserably because I was thrown off by all the Slavic names of all the characters. At the time it was hard for me to remember who was who in the stories and I couldn't draw an attachment to them being of such low intelligence at the time. I definitely found this not to be an issue with this collection, mostly probably because they are short stories and therefore have fewer characters and also being in my golden years of life, I’ve become more familiar with various names of the world. Re-looking through the titles of these stories, apart from maybe Lazarus, which is an interesting idea of Lazarus being risen from the dead, more or less a zombie, depressing everyone he meets, I can’t think of a single one I didn’t like. They are often focussing on the struggle of the common worker, the bureaucrats and the bourgeois lack of appreciation for the common man, peasantry, military brutality, greed and corruption, the non Hollywood happy ending hopelessness in life, death, more death, the dedication and integrity of one’s work. The majority of these having some kind of moral message that I get, but have parables that I may have missed not being Russian in the 1800’s or ever. From here I find I have found the confidence to press on with more meatier Russian works, but will continue to read various collections of short stories both Russian and not, and make my way into tackling some of the big hitters such as Tolstoy, Dostoyevsky, Melville, etc. which I've been putting off for so long.

  9. 5 out of 5

    El

    Here are 20 of the best Russian short stories, from Pushkin to Bunin. I was finally able to check off some of the stories I've always meant to read but for one reason or another had never actually had a chance to spend time with, like Pushkin's "The Queen of Spades" or Gogol's "The Cloak". I knew the stories going into them, but having not read them previously I was excited by just how poetic they were. Being the first two stories in the collection I knew I had found a great collection. Some aut Here are 20 of the best Russian short stories, from Pushkin to Bunin. I was finally able to check off some of the stories I've always meant to read but for one reason or another had never actually had a chance to spend time with, like Pushkin's "The Queen of Spades" or Gogol's "The Cloak". I knew the stories going into them, but having not read them previously I was excited by just how poetic they were. Being the first two stories in the collection I knew I had found a great collection. Some authors were new to me entirely (Garshin, Sologub, Potapenko, Semyonov); some authors I had previously read (Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Tolstoy, Chekhov, Gorky); and others I knew by reputation only (Andreyev and Bunin). Pretty impressive collection for anyone studying or interested in Russian literature. Favorites: "The Cloak" (Gogol), "The Signal" (Garshin) and "Lazarus" (Andreyev).

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary Mcclain

    This was a really interesting collection of Russian short stories... but read the preface first so you understand why they were selected to show how both literature and the Russian society progressed over this time period. Understanding the context made a big difference to me. Sort of a mini-class on Russian lit.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Leslie

    A mixed collection - I really enjoyed Gogol's "The Cloak", Saltykov's "How a Muzhik Fed Two Officials", and Korolenko's "The Shades, a Phantasy" but disliked Andreyev's "Lazarus" and Artzybashev's "The Revolutionist". The others fell in between. This collection did give me a good sampling of classic Russian authors, including several I had never heard of before. A mixed collection - I really enjoyed Gogol's "The Cloak", Saltykov's "How a Muzhik Fed Two Officials", and Korolenko's "The Shades, a Phantasy" but disliked Andreyev's "Lazarus" and Artzybashev's "The Revolutionist". The others fell in between. This collection did give me a good sampling of classic Russian authors, including several I had never heard of before.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Saima

    A beautiful collection from the best Russian writers. The stories I enjoyed the most were: "The Queen of Spades" by Pushkin "The Cloak" by Gogol "The Christmas Tree and the Wedding" by Dostoyevsky "The Signal" by Garshin "Hide and Seek" by Sologub "The Bet" by Anton Chekhov "Dethroned" by Ignatii Potapenko "Her Lover" by Maxim Gorky A beautiful collection from the best Russian writers. The stories I enjoyed the most were: "The Queen of Spades" by Pushkin "The Cloak" by Gogol "The Christmas Tree and the Wedding" by Dostoyevsky "The Signal" by Garshin "Hide and Seek" by Sologub "The Bet" by Anton Chekhov "Dethroned" by Ignatii Potapenko "Her Lover" by Maxim Gorky

  13. 5 out of 5

    Colin Rush

    While the stories are very good, there must be something lost in translation, as they are often dry and rambling. Also, this is not a happy book. These stories range from sad irony to outright depressing. Not that it is a bad thing, but don't read this expecting happy endings. While the stories are very good, there must be something lost in translation, as they are often dry and rambling. Also, this is not a happy book. These stories range from sad irony to outright depressing. Not that it is a bad thing, but don't read this expecting happy endings.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Joan

    This book was first published in 1917. It is a collection of some of the best short stories from classic Russian literature. I found the stories interesting and well-worth reading. There is a good range of short stories from well-known Russian writers such as Pushkin, Gogol, Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy, providing a variety of writing styles. My favorites were: The Cloak by Nikolay V. Gogol The Signal by Vsevolod M. Garshin The Darling by Anton P. Chekhov The Servant by S.T. Semyonov Her L This book was first published in 1917. It is a collection of some of the best short stories from classic Russian literature. I found the stories interesting and well-worth reading. There is a good range of short stories from well-known Russian writers such as Pushkin, Gogol, Chekhov, Dostoyevsky, and Tolstoy, providing a variety of writing styles. My favorites were: The Cloak by Nikolay V. Gogol The Signal by Vsevolod M. Garshin The Darling by Anton P. Chekhov The Servant by S.T. Semyonov Her Lover by Maxim Gorky

  15. 4 out of 5

    Louise

    The title says it all.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ernest

    I knew very little of Russian literature, and I was very satisfied with this collection of Russian short stories. I now understand why so many authors have cited the realism of Russian writers. A few of the nineteen stories in the collection really stood out to me, specifically Gogol's "The Cloak [Overcoat:]", Chekhov's "The Bet", Andreyev's "Lazarus", and Artzybashev's "The Revolutionist". Also, I recommend re-reading the introduction in the beginning of the book after you have read the short sto I knew very little of Russian literature, and I was very satisfied with this collection of Russian short stories. I now understand why so many authors have cited the realism of Russian writers. A few of the nineteen stories in the collection really stood out to me, specifically Gogol's "The Cloak [Overcoat:]", Chekhov's "The Bet", Andreyev's "Lazarus", and Artzybashev's "The Revolutionist". Also, I recommend re-reading the introduction in the beginning of the book after you have read the short stories. The author/translator does a great job of describing the significance of the selections and how they tie together to give readers a survey of Russian literary traditions.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Suzanne Auckerman

    Downloaded this book from Gutenberg Press--that such a great site. While I had read many of these stories before, they were so much more meaningful after being there, seeing their museums, the monuments, churches and parks. The Russian people endure. They love their country, but their expectations for personal happiness are low. They enjoy the good times and know they will have to endure the bad. Several times I heard people say we know the low oil price will hurt the economy as well as the econ Downloaded this book from Gutenberg Press--that such a great site. While I had read many of these stories before, they were so much more meaningful after being there, seeing their museums, the monuments, churches and parks. The Russian people endure. They love their country, but their expectations for personal happiness are low. They enjoy the good times and know they will have to endure the bad. Several times I heard people say we know the low oil price will hurt the economy as well as the economic sanctions. We will get through it.

  18. 5 out of 5

    Santanu Dutta

    Its a superb compilation of good classic Russian literature short stories and short novels. I already have put reviews on three that I read as small books. The Overcoat, The Queen Of Spades, and Christmas Tree and a Wedding. This collection bears stories even surpassing the styles and humanity as,we see in Queen if Spades and Christmas Tree. I should define my best fav sequence as under. 1. Hide and Seek by Sologub 5x 2. The Darling by Chekhov 5x 3. One Autumn Night by Gorky 5x 4. Her lover by Gorky Its a superb compilation of good classic Russian literature short stories and short novels. I already have put reviews on three that I read as small books. The Overcoat, The Queen Of Spades, and Christmas Tree and a Wedding. This collection bears stories even surpassing the styles and humanity as,we see in Queen if Spades and Christmas Tree. I should define my best fav sequence as under. 1. Hide and Seek by Sologub 5x 2. The Darling by Chekhov 5x 3. One Autumn Night by Gorky 5x 4. Her lover by Gorky 4.5 x 5. The Overcoat by Gogol 5x

  19. 5 out of 5

    manyi

    stories I've enjoyed so far: The Cloak by Nikolai Gogol The District Doctor by Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev The Christmas Tree and the Wedding by Fyodor Dostoevsky - the writing was rather dry, although I do think it just might be the little things lost in translation God Sees the Truth, but Waits by Leo Tolstoy The Shades, a Phantasy by Vladimir G. Korolenko - story was kind of bland, but it raised some thought-provoking questions The Bet by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Dethroned by I.N. Potapenko Lazarus by stories I've enjoyed so far: The Cloak by Nikolai Gogol The District Doctor by Ivan Sergeevich Turgenev The Christmas Tree and the Wedding by Fyodor Dostoevsky - the writing was rather dry, although I do think it just might be the little things lost in translation God Sees the Truth, but Waits by Leo Tolstoy The Shades, a Phantasy by Vladimir G. Korolenko - story was kind of bland, but it raised some thought-provoking questions The Bet by Anton Pavlovich Chekhov Dethroned by I.N. Potapenko Lazarus by Leonid Andreyev The Revolutionist by Mikhail Artsybashev The Outrage by Aleksandr Kuprin

  20. 4 out of 5

    Abby

    "Best" is a bit presumptuous, I'd say, but these are certainly all fantastic stories. I've heard tell of the fundamental depression in the Russian author's psyche, but I don't find it so oppressive. They just go straight to the heart of the matter and ask, "Why?" At the close of the Russian imperial period, they had several good reasons to wonder what the hell the world had come to. Favorites are hard to choose, but I found "Lazarus" the most fascinating, "Queen of Spades" the most amusing, "Vank "Best" is a bit presumptuous, I'd say, but these are certainly all fantastic stories. I've heard tell of the fundamental depression in the Russian author's psyche, but I don't find it so oppressive. They just go straight to the heart of the matter and ask, "Why?" At the close of the Russian imperial period, they had several good reasons to wonder what the hell the world had come to. Favorites are hard to choose, but I found "Lazarus" the most fascinating, "Queen of Spades" the most amusing, "Vanka" most beautiful, and "One Autumn Night" just sticks with you.

  21. 5 out of 5

    Manuj Khurana

    I am a fan of classic russian literature and this collection further reinforced my love for it.If you haven't been exposed yet, this is the best collection to get a flavor. Features almost all the big wigs of Russian literary scene. For my spiritual inclination, loved 'God knows the truth, but waits' by Tolstoy the most. However, its hard to discount any of the stories - each riveted me with its unique style and plot. I am a fan of classic russian literature and this collection further reinforced my love for it.If you haven't been exposed yet, this is the best collection to get a flavor. Features almost all the big wigs of Russian literary scene. For my spiritual inclination, loved 'God knows the truth, but waits' by Tolstoy the most. However, its hard to discount any of the stories - each riveted me with its unique style and plot.

  22. 4 out of 5

    Kseniya Melnik

    I got my copy from a used bookstore in Homer, Alaska; it's from 1925 (the Modern Library). The original copyright is by Boni & Liveright, Inc., from 1917. The introduction by Seltzer is great, and so is the selection of stories. Leonid Andreyev's "The Red Laugh" is mind-blowing. And-not least importantly-the book has that great old book smell! Love it. I got my copy from a used bookstore in Homer, Alaska; it's from 1925 (the Modern Library). The original copyright is by Boni & Liveright, Inc., from 1917. The introduction by Seltzer is great, and so is the selection of stories. Leonid Andreyev's "The Red Laugh" is mind-blowing. And-not least importantly-the book has that great old book smell! Love it.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Karen Chung

    If you are intrigued by Russian literature but don't know where to start, you need look no further. This collection is true to its name and indeed includes many exquisite shorter works. Excellent introduction to help orient you before you start. Highly recommended. If you are intrigued by Russian literature but don't know where to start, you need look no further. This collection is true to its name and indeed includes many exquisite shorter works. Excellent introduction to help orient you before you start. Highly recommended.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Jackie

    Interesting collection of stories. The main themes appear to be death, illness, greed, simplicity, and naivety. Russian storytelling is not exactly cheerful, and at times the reader's spirit feels as cold as a Siberian winter once she reaches the end of a story. Interesting collection of stories. The main themes appear to be death, illness, greed, simplicity, and naivety. Russian storytelling is not exactly cheerful, and at times the reader's spirit feels as cold as a Siberian winter once she reaches the end of a story.

  25. 4 out of 5

    JoAnn

    My favorites were "The Queen of Spades" by Pushkin; "The Cloak" by Gogol; "The Christmas Tree and the Wedding" by Dostoyevsky; "The Signal" by Garshin; "Hide and Seek" by Sologub; "The Bet" by Anton Chekhov; "Dethroned" by Ignatii Potapenko; and "Her Lover" by Maxim Gorky. My favorites were "The Queen of Spades" by Pushkin; "The Cloak" by Gogol; "The Christmas Tree and the Wedding" by Dostoyevsky; "The Signal" by Garshin; "Hide and Seek" by Sologub; "The Bet" by Anton Chekhov; "Dethroned" by Ignatii Potapenko; and "Her Lover" by Maxim Gorky.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Dan

    This was a very interesting set of stories. All set in a different culture and a different time, but humans are always humans. The Cloak by Gogol was my favorite of the bunch.

  27. 4 out of 5

    Naren Yellavula

    Best Collection! Hide &Seek, The Servant, The Over cloak stories are good

  28. 4 out of 5

    Nickdepenpan123

    In short story collections, it's easy to forget the individual stories and their authors. I doubt whether this review adds anything, I write my thoughts on each story, mostly for personal reference/reminder. BIG SPOILERS! 3/5: Thomas Seltzer. Introduction. Yes, I'm reviewing the intro as well, now, that's indulging! I got a bit turned off with how the author tries to compare classic Russian writers to western European ones. Though admiring and giving credit to both groups, he tends to emphasize th In short story collections, it's easy to forget the individual stories and their authors. I doubt whether this review adds anything, I write my thoughts on each story, mostly for personal reference/reminder. BIG SPOILERS! 3/5: Thomas Seltzer. Introduction. Yes, I'm reviewing the intro as well, now, that's indulging! I got a bit turned off with how the author tries to compare classic Russian writers to western European ones. Though admiring and giving credit to both groups, he tends to emphasize the uniqueness (and indirectly the superiority) of the first. Such comparisons can often acquire nationalistic tinges, assigning fixed traits to specific nationalities, an idea I find unappealing. I prefer the notion that human traits aren't fundamentally different, and what sometimes creates a difference is the frequency with which they can appear or flourish in different social contexts. At the same time though, reluctantly, I tend to agree with the author. For me, an epigrammatic way to describe it, at its best, Russian (and I'd include eastern European) works often have everything at the same time (while most other masterpieces tend to have everything at different times). Take Gogol's Overcoat. In the same page or paragraph, the reader can empathize and scorn, like and dislike the same character, laugh with and laugh at the protagonist. There's tragedy and comedy, high drama and daily mundanity, thoughtful philosophy and brutal earthliness, personal psychology and social satire, surreal metaphysics and social realism. Taking the last combination as an example, one could compare with Latin American magical realism novels. These may have both surreal metaphysics and social realism but not at the same time. There are pages of social realism, then the surprise/magic/gimmick happens and say the girl ascends to the stars, and then it's back to the conventional storyline. In the introduction, Dickens and Shakespeare are used as comparisons (among others), and again, I think the same principle applies. There's the part where you laugh, the part where you cry, the mundane or conventional part serving to move the plot, the deep minded philosophical part, the part where you observe from afar (for example, someone poor or different), the part where you move close and find common ground with a character, the part where you look down at a protagonist, the part where you look up to him after a transformation. As far as my biased reading experiences go, I find that Russian works tend to contain all these things simultaneously a bit more often that literature from other regions. Something else that I find occurring in higher frequency in eastern European or Russian literature is that the authors tend to show fewer prejudices of their time. Is it the earthly or minimalist language, compared say to many Victorian, French or German masterpieces which are often burdened by an unnatural, elaborate and perhaps artificial or pretentious style? Was it something in Russian upbringing or society that allowed more anarchic (in the non-political sense) and unconventional thinkers to be able to publish their works? Is it that from accidental historical circumstances, western writers tended to be more often constrained in some way or another? I mean, for example, Shakespeare writing for live performances, or Dickens and Twain effectively getting paid by the word (and often, how it shows!) in serialized instalments, for newspapers or other publications... I don't know. Incidentally, I get a similarly flattering impression outside literature also, with Russian music (especially the bard genre), animations, etc. Should say, I'm not Russian, I've got no strong emotion towards the country, I don't even know the language. 4/5: Alexander Pushkin. The queen of spades. A calculating, puritanical German/Russian trying to discover the rumoured secret of an old aristocratic lady, how to win at card games. Is there a metaphysical element with the old woman playing a joke on him (after he causes her death) that makes him lose all his fortunes, or it's only a coincidence combined with his obsession and mental deterioration? A well written and captivating story. 5/5: Nikolai Gogol. The cloak. I guess I kind of reviewed it in the intro. 4/5: Ivan Turgenev. The district doctor. The brief, unfulfilled love affair between a district doctor and his beautiful, dying young patient, as he remembers it many years after, when unhappily married/settled. A little bit sentimental perhaps, but with the cynicism of calculating compromise at the end balancing things. 3/5: Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The Christmas tree and the wedding. A narrator accidentally witnessing two events, the first, how a high status but not so rich, sleazy, arrogant big shot meets an angelic eleven year old girl at a Christmas party and decides that she's a catch (the dowry), and second, the sad wedding (obviously forced to her, some years later). I'm a fan of Dostoyevsky but I thought that not only it was a conventional and perhaps cliched storyline but it lacked subtlety as well. 2/5: Leo Tolstoy. God sees the truth but waits. Laid-back, well adjusted guy gets convicted and sent to Siberia for a crime he didn't commit, and decades later meets by accident there the real culprit. There are similar themes perhaps to crime and punishment (god, redemption, brokenness, etc), but I thought the moralizing was a bit awkward (the title also), and generally the story a bit too bland. But perhaps I'm biased, I didn't enjoy a couple of other works by Tolstoy I've read, and oddly, every time it's something different that turns me off. 2/5: Mikhail Saltykov. How a muzhik fed two officials. Two bureaucrats get teleported to a magic island and after finding that they're unable to take care of themselves (even though the island has food, etc), they end up finding a muzhik (peasant/servant/serf) to provide for them (and accept their insults and patronizing). Too obvious political satire without nuances. 2/5: Vladimir Korolenko. The shades, a fantasy. A retelling of the story of Socrates, including a supernatural sequel in the afterlife. The obvious point of the story is to extol the virtues of the mind, analytic enquiry, and thinking for yourself, but I thought it was awkward, heavy-handed, and superfluously written in a theatrical/lyrical style. 4/5: Vsevolod Garshin. The signal. A disaffected railroad worker sabotages a railway and a co-worker tries to stop the train and save the lives of the passengers. Straightforward and excellent story. 5/5: Anton Chekhov. The darling. The (non) story of a (non) woman who acquires a (non) existence by fusing her (non) identity with the person who happens to be close to her in every stage of her life. A great tragicomic story which examines similar themes to the (great) film Zelig, only where Zelig is sort of a star, worth (psycho) analysing, perhaps intelligent or even self-aware, and with his unique adjusting/conforming skills/instinct purposely exaggerated to comics superhero levels, here our heroine is a more realistic next door version, a sad, empty shell of a person who can't inspire any mystery or interest to anyone around her. 4/5: Anton Chekhov. The bet. A young lawyer goes into voluntary solitary confinement for fifteen years to win a bet and a great fortune. A very interesting story, especially the brief part with the description of the phases the prisoner goes through. 4/5: Anton Chekhov. Vanka. A little boy writes a letter to his grandfather, hoping he'll be rescued from his sad life and his nasty caretakers. Another tragicomic story with, on one side, the funny and endearing naivety of the boy's writing, and on the other, his sad circumstances and the perhaps predictable but still heartbreaking ending with the realization that the boy hasn't understood how letters are sent. 3/5: Fyodor Sologub. Hide and seek. A little girl who loves playing hide-and-seek with her overprotective, obsessive mother, ends up playing the ultimately effective "hide", and the disturbed mother ends up trying to play the ultimately futile "seek". A tragic and memorable story but I thought that perhaps a few layers were missing to elevate it to a classic. 5/5: Ignaty Potapenko. Dethroned. The cunning ploys and shenanigans of two regiment ladies trying to outmanoeuvre the other in who will be the queen of the town ball. A great comedy and with so many recognizably timeless insights on human nature and society. 3/5: Sergey Semyonov. The servant. A young servant desperate for a job rejects a great opportunity when he realizes that his employment will lead to another's unemployment/destitution. Straightforward and easy to read story but there's not much more to it than this one-liner summary. 2/5: Maxim Gorky. One autumn night. An educated, ambitious youngster is homeless/hungry, and is helped and shown affection by a rough and kind-hearted destitute, abused girl of the same age. The hero talks in a flowery, lyrical language, presumably intended as wit/humour with the words clashing with the hero's circumstances, but the "joke" gets boring very quickly and I skimmed heavily. In addition, the circumstances that place the hero at the bottom (and yet is feeling above it all and is implied to be soon on the way up) are never really explained and the whole story becomes an unsubtle, obvious moralizing on the virtues of simple people or underdogs and the unjustified snobbishness of the ones who are foolish to think they're superior. 2/5: Maxim Gorky. Her lover. An educated, ambitious youngster ends up making a favour to his neighbour, a lonely woman of ill repute who asks him to read and write letters to her imaginary lover/friend. This story reads exactly like the previous, with the snobbish hero taken aback that the ugly, uneducated woman next door whom he despises and snobs ends up showing that like a "normal" person, she's got an emotional world, sorrows, sadness, etc. The moralizing at the end is even more forced, explicit and "preachery", it's especially boring for a reader who is already converted. I don't know if the writer is always going on about the same thing or it was the editor who inexplicably selected two stories from the same author with an identical topic (and identical flaws). 4/5: Leonid Andreyev. Lazarus. The story of Lazarus after his comeback and how he mysteriously sucks the zest for life out of everyone he meets. I thought it was a great premise, the story was very interesting, one could take it as an allegory for a variety of things. 2/5: Mikhail Artzybashev. The revolutionist. A timid, idealistic (pseudo) intellectual is getting slowly radicalized, growing hateful against an oppressive force/army. Everything was so vague in this story, the social and economic context, the character's background, etc. It seemed like a mediocre children's fairy tale, just with an adult topic. 4/5: Alexander Kuprin. The outrage. The indignant supplication of the representatives of an association of thieves (to a group of barristers) protesting about the rumours that they supported or participated in a pogrom. Again, there's the recurrent theme of the noble or redeeming features of the underdogs or the underclass, but this time in a captivating and funny story.

  29. 5 out of 5

    ThePrimeHotScholar

    A mixed bag. While “The Cloak” and “Lazarus” are two of my favourite stories ever, some of the stories were just terrible in my opinion. Also, I think any collection of the best short stories from Russia should include “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” by Tolstoy. All of the stories can be found here: http://www.russianshortstories.com ****/***** (amazing) Nikolai Gogol - The Cloak Leonid Andreyev - Lazarus Fyodor Dostoevsky - The Christmas Tree and the Wedding ——————————————————— ***/***.75 (good) Mikhail A mixed bag. While “The Cloak” and “Lazarus” are two of my favourite stories ever, some of the stories were just terrible in my opinion. Also, I think any collection of the best short stories from Russia should include “How Much Land Does a Man Need?” by Tolstoy. All of the stories can be found here: http://www.russianshortstories.com ****/***** (amazing) Nikolai Gogol - The Cloak Leonid Andreyev - Lazarus Fyodor Dostoevsky - The Christmas Tree and the Wedding ——————————————————— ***/***.75 (good) Mikhail Artsybashev - The Revolutionist Ivan Turgenev - The District Doctor Vsevolod Garshin - The Signal S.T. Semyonov - The Servant ——————————————————— **/**.75 (ok) Maxim Gorky - One Autumn Night - Her Lover Leo Tolstoy - God Sees the Truth, But Waits Aleksandr Kuprin - The Outrage Aleksandr Pushkin - The Queen of Spades Anton Chekhov - The Bet - The Darling - Vanka ——————————————————— 0-*.75 (bad) Ignatii Potapenko - Dethroned Vladimir Korolenko - The Shades, A Phantasy Mikhail Saltykov - How a Muzhik Fed Two Officials Fyodor Sologub - Hide and Seek

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dave

    Like getting a master's in short stories. All the greats back to back. Interesting to see their writing styles and thoughts laying together in one place, leaning against each other. Tolstoy, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Gorky. And Chekhov and a variety of others I never knew. One of the best World War 1 stories, or fragments of one, by LN Andreyev, and another by him about the revolution. Each one, though different, writes with such clarity and fullness of thought. Their styles are classic and Like getting a master's in short stories. All the greats back to back. Interesting to see their writing styles and thoughts laying together in one place, leaning against each other. Tolstoy, Gogol, Turgenev, Dostoyevsky, Gorky. And Chekhov and a variety of others I never knew. One of the best World War 1 stories, or fragments of one, by LN Andreyev, and another by him about the revolution. Each one, though different, writes with such clarity and fullness of thought. Their styles are classic and I wonder if anyone can write like that anymore. One of the best Modern Library used book finds I've made. I'll keep this around.

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