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Sentimental Tales


Product Description
Product Details

Table of Contents

A Note on the Text
Preface to the First Edition
Preface to the Second Edition
Preface to the Third Edition
Preface to the Fourth Edition
1. Apollo and Tamara
2. People
3. A Terrible Night
4. What the Nightingale Sang
5. A Merry Adventure
6. Lilacs in Bloom

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).


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 *
A book that would make Gogol guffaw. * Kirkus Reviews *
If you find Chekhov a bit tame and want a more bite to your fiction, then you need a dose of Zoshchenko, the premier Russian satirist of the twentieth century. . . . The translations, as we would expect of Dralyuk, are light and fluid, allowing the full bite of Zoshchenko's voice to power through. Snap up this thin volume and enjoy. -- Paul E. Richardson * Russian Life *
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 *
Superb . . . a collection of six of Zoshchenko's marvelous longer stories written between 1923 and 1929. -- Bob Blaisdell * Los Angeles Review of Books *
Boris Dralyuk is to be commended for a jaunty translation that keeps pace with the author's whimsical self-amusement, tickling the reader in turn. -- Benjamin Paloff * Times Literary Supplement *
Zoshchenko's stories are vignettes and anecdotes: short, written in simple language, often paradoxical, and always very funny. -- Alexandra Guzeva * Russia Beyond *
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 *
Boris Dralyuk's translation allows the reader to enjoy Zoschenko's playfully evasive relationship with 'truth' that allowed him to briefly function as such an atypical Soviet author. . . . Zoschenko's wry assessment of the workings of state bureaucracy and their impact on the individual calls to mind the surreality of Nikolai Gogol's Petersburg stories, recast in an age when the system has acquired new rulers but is largely unchanged nonetheless. -- Peter Lowe * Russian Art + Culture *
Zoshchenko's Sentimental Tales are here to entertain the reader. * Tony's Reading List *
The connections between the stories of love, life and regret are the absurdities and meaninglessness of life. Love, success, comfort are all set against the instability and unpredictability of Russian society. One can strive for decades and it will all be for nought. Reading these reminded me of Dostoevsky's lighter work. Wonderful. * His Futile Preoccupations *
Dralyuk's renderings provide worthy updates, largely successful in employing different registers to capture Zoshchenko's sparkling hodge-podge of colloquialisms and formal locutions. * Rain Taxi Review of Books *
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
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
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
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
A re-packaging of Zoshchenko for a new generation in dire need of dark humor, and of the sparkling wit of both author and translator. -- Jeremy Hicks * The Russian Review *
A gift to the English-speaking world. . . . Boris Dralyuk's translation faithfully recreates the paradoxes that make Sentimental Tales enigmatic, hilarious, and devastating. -- Masha Kisel * Translation and Literature *
Boris Dralyuk's 2018 translation is truly a gift to the Englishspeaking world. This is first time they have been published together in a cohesive English-language collection. Boris Dralyuk's translation faithfully recreates the paradoxes that make Sentimental Tales enigmatic, hilarious, and devastating. * Translations and Literature *

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