The abrupt, mid-sentence ending to an audio-book of Nikolai Vasilyevich Gogol's (April 1, 1809 – March 4, 1852) Dead Souls (1842) was a shock till one remembered that was how the book ended. After taking several deep breaths and wishing ill on audio books in general and this one in particular, it was time to fix one's glittering eye on the terrible beauty of the book. The haunting misery in Dead souls The book has been variously described as picaresque and Homeric (Konstantin Aksakov). Modernist critics, including Vladimir Nabokov, hold that the plot does not matter one way or the other. Dead Souls is a fascinating, accessible novel bringing alive a time long gone by and is conversely as current as today. It is as if Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov, the picaro (the loveable rascal from the picaresque novel and nothing to do with a certain Belgian comic book journalist) would be as much at home in the small towns of India in 2022 as he would have been in the estates surrounding a guberniya in Russia 180 years ago. The rich and colourful cast of characters Chichikov encounters during his journeys including the sentimental Manilov, the economic Sobakevich, the incisive… Read full this story
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