Dead Souls

  • by Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol
  • Narrated by Tom Weiner
  • 12 hrs and 57 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

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, saving their owners from paying tax on them. But what collateral will Chichikov receive for these "souls"?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.Translation by D. J. Hogarth.


What the Critics Say

"One of the world's finest satires...." (Merriam Webster's Encyclopedia of Literature)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

The Russian Dickens

"Dead Souls" is a wonderful book. It has all the wit and linguistic dexterity of Dickens, and still is utterly and completely Russian. The elusive "Russian spirit" is on every page. Truly a masterpiece, presented here in a very good translation. The reader does an excellent job, too; his voices do slip here and there, but never for more than a second or two.

There is, however, one thing to note about this audiobook: Gogol intended this to be a three-volume work. In his lifetime, he only published the first volume. He apparently wrote some of the second part, but then burned it. Now, it seems that some fragments of this second part have survived, and these are included in the audiobook. Listening to that half of the audiobook isn't really enjoyable: every time you start to follow the plot, the narrator says "at this point there is a long hiatus in the original" and jumps off to a much later part of the story, complete with new and unfamiliar characters and full of references to events you have no knowledge of. I think the audiobook would have been better without this rather pointless second part, and would recommend stopping after the first.
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- Erez

Bait & Switch

Firstly, this is a serviceable translation of Gogol's masterwork, and narrator Tom Weiner does a better than average job of bringing the novel to life (though somehow his imperious tone doesn't quite suit the text). But this is NOT an Unabridged reading of Dead Souls. The edited text is missing somewhere between 8-10% of Gogol's prose, mostly big chunks of descriptive exposition and digressive ruminations on the writer's life as it relates to Russian society. These excisions allow the plot to lurch forward more briskly, but Gogol has much more to offer than plot. I am deeply annoyed at the Audible editors who didn't take the time to realize this. Given all the unemployed Ph.Ds out there, the company should consider hiring experts in specific fields of literature as editors to ensure this type of false advertisement doesn't happen again. P.S. When I initially download the book two weeks ago, the thumbnail they used was of the Vintage Classics edition, translated by the great Pevear and Volokhonsky. This has since been revised, but further adds to the unreliability of the Audible marketers when it comes to disclosing to the customer exactly what they're getting. It's only fair to close by saying I've downloaded dozens of Audible titles over the years, and this is the first time I've had grounds for complaint.
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- Alexander

Book Details

  • Release Date: 08-03-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.