The Overcoat and Other Short Stories by Nikolai Gogol
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
In this slender paperback book there are a series of short stories introduced by the esteemed author Nikolai Gogol. I am familiar with his work since I first encountered it in a Gothic Horror anthology, which featured a short story by him called 'The Viy.' I believe it is the finest work that I have read by Gogol thus far. The short stories in this book did not contain any horrifying tales of an elderly witch stalking the night for their next victim, but instead I read short snippets of marginally boring, run-of-the-mill lifestyles of everyday people in Russia. In these stories the reader will encounter drama stemming from two friendly neighbours that have a sudden disagreement over an old, long-forgotten gun and an elderly man that is brokenhearted after he lost the love of his life- his wife. In spite of the quotidian lifestyles of the main characters in Gogol's short stories, he still manages to exhibit a certain flair of artistry in his simple tales of life and love. Dripping black ink on a thin sheet of paper, the author Gogol is able to create images for the reader to fully visualize. His writing is exemplary and should not be so easily dismissed by other readers or critics of text from European writers in the twentieth century. I would highly recommend him to readers that are interested in reading stories that do not stem from the typical westernized culture (i.e. Britain or America).
My favourite story by far is the 'Overcoat.' Mainly because it contains a supernatural element at the very end of the book, an unexpected twist that left a whimsical smile upon my face. I do love a good ghost story! Anyways, I am happy I purchased this thin paperback at my local book store, although I will admit (with some reluctance) that it is not something that I will quickly re-read anytime soon.
View all my reviews
Leave a Reply.