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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

This Penguin Classic is performed by Allan Corduner, best known for his extensive stage and screen credits including Homeland, Da Vinci's Demons and portraying Sir Arthur Sullivan to Jim Broadbent's Gilbert in Mike Leigh's Topsy-Turvy. This definitive recording includes an introduction by Robert A. Maguire. 

Chichikov, a mysterious stranger, arrives in the provincial town of 'N', visiting a succession of landowners and making each a strange offer. He proposes to buy the names of dead serfs still registered on the census, saving their owners from paying tax on them, and to use these 'dead souls' as collateral to re-invent himself as a aristocrat. In this ebullient picaresque masterpiece, Gogol created a grotesque gallery of human types, from the bear-like Sobakevich to the insubstantial fool Manilov and, above all, the devilish con man Chichikov. Dead Souls (1842), Russia's first major novel, is one of the most unusual works of 19th-century fiction and a devastating satire on social hypocrisy.

©2004 Robert A. Maguire (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"Gogol was a strange creature, but then genius is always strange." (Vladimir Nabokov)

"I admire the way in which Maguire has kept his own brilliantly variegated vocabulary away from 20th-century phrases, without ever looking parodic or antiquarian." (A. S. Byatt, author of Possession

What listeners say about Dead Souls

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Excellent Narration

First off, the narrator is superb. He skillfully represents each character in the book with distinction. Very entertaining. Secondly, Gogol never finished this book so don’t expect a grand finale, but enjoy the journey of Chichikov and all of the looney characters he meets. Also take pleasure in the tangents and rambles that the author often entreats the reader-they often add a dash of humor and witticism. Keeping this in mind, the story is very enjoyable. It’s a shame that this book was never completed but it does end at the very least with some things being concluded.

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Unfinished Book

Gogol never finished this book. There are huge jumps in the story near the end which leaves the reader with a lot to fill in on his own. Part 1 is great. Seems to be a realistic reflection of the Russian society at that time.