Dead Souls

Written by:
Nikolai Gogol
Narrated by:
Tom Weiner

Unabridged Audiobook

Release Date
July 2009
12 hours 57 minutes
Regarded as the first great masterpiece of Russian literature, Dead Souls mixes realism and symbolism for a vivid and highly original portrait of Russian life.

Chichikov, a mysterious stranger, arrives in a provincial town with a bizarre but seductive proposition for local landowners. He proposes to buy the names of their serfs who have died but who are still registered on the census, thereby saving their owners from paying taxes on them. But what collateral will Chichikov receive for these 'souls'? What dubious scheme lies behind his actions?

Full of larger-than-life Dickensian characters—rogues and scoundrels, landowners and serfs, conniving petty officials, and the wily antihero Chichikov—Dead Souls is a devastating comic satire on social hypocrisy.
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As usual, the narration was excellent---which is astounding considering the great number of grotesques in Dead Souls---and the pronunciation of Russian words seemed authentic. My only quarrels are with the audio edition. It beats me why the translator calls Pavel Chichikov "Paul.' Also, it would have been valuable to include some kind of editorial preface---all editions have them---about Gogol himself and the destruction of part 2, so readers could understand why that part is so fragmented and why the characters in part 2 are largely "types," or paper dolls: Altruist, Intelligent Slavophil Landowner, Frivolous Westernizing Landowner, etc.

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I felt like I was getting a great description of life in Russia at the novel period. Part of the reason I love to read, is that I love to travel. And reading transports me to another time and place. For that, I liked the book. However, because it was an "unfinished' work (Author tried to destroy the book) there were some abrupt stoppages where the reader would say "here the manuscript stops" and the ending was quite abrupt and unfinished.

Dead Souls
This title is due for release on July 23, 2009.

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