• The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories

  • By: Nikolai Gogol
  • Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
  • Length: 17 hrs and 2 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (74 ratings)

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The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories  By  cover art

The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories

By: Nikolai Gogol
Narrated by: Nicholas Boulton
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Publisher's Summary

The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories is a bizarre and colorful collection containing the finest short stories by the iconic Russian writer Nikolai Gogol. From the witty and Kafkaesque "The Nose", where a civil servant wakes up one day to find his nose missing, to the moving and evocative "The Overcoat", about a reclusive man whose only ambition is to replace his old, threadbare coat, Gogol gives us a unique take on the absurd. Gogol’s tales of inconsequential civil servants, mixing the everyday with the surreal, foreshadow the work of his later acolytes, Bulgakov and Kafka. None is more cutting than the main story, "The Diary of a Madman", where a government clerk descends to insanity, claiming that he can communicate with dogs and that he is next in line to the throne of Spain. Translator: Constance Garnett. 

©2018 Public Domain (P)2018 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about The Diary of a Madman and Other Stories

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Delightful start to finish

I can’t imagine a better narrator than Nicholas Boulton for this delightful collection of stories. Every character gets his due, every lyrical description of nature its music.

I’d read The Nose and The Overcoat but had never dipped far into Gogol’s stories. They are grouped into Petersburg Tales (6 stories) and Ukrainian Tales (7 stories), and the two sets of stories are quite different. The Nose and The Overcoat belong to the first group, and while the stories are urban and mostly realistic, there are (obviously) flights of fancy and absurdity. The second group, mostly populated by Cossack soldiers and villagers, occasionally takes a darker turn: there are witches, devils, and wizards weaving in and out of these stories: there are dead men who rise from their graves and moan about being stifled.

One of them, Viy, is the scariest ghost story I’ve ever read. Another one, Christmas Eve, pictures a world where witches and devils show up in a small village to wreak havoc. A blacksmith loves a young woman, but she sets him an almost impossible task: to give her a pair of shoes worthy of the Tsaritsa. But the story hardly follows a straight line. It reads like an improvisation, a story told by a master storyteller who had no idea how his story would end when he started telling it. I mean that in a good way: the story is always surprising and ultimately very satisfying.

A great collection and a treat to listen to. It left me hungering for more Gogol.

19 people found this helpful

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Contents are horrible; disappointed.

There are 107 chapters. They are labeled Chapter 1, Chapter 2, etc. They do not correspond to the beginnings or ends of stories, and there is no way to tell what stories they are part of nor is there even any way to know exactly which stories are in the book. This makes for a frustrating experience that is totally unnecessary and leaves me disappointed.

12 people found this helpful

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Brilliant writer, fantastic narration, plus TOC

Gogol's stories are strange, funny, horrifying, enlightening. I particularly enjoyed "The Diary of a Madman," "The Nose," "The Portrait," "The Overcoat," "Christmas Eve," "A Terrible Vengeance" and "Viy." Nicholas Boulton really brought each story to life uniquely. Since the book doesn't have a proper table of contents, here's how it breaks down:

1. Petersburg Tales. Nevsky Prospect
10. The Diary of a Madman
16. The Nose
23. The Carriage
26. The Portrait
41. The Overcoat
49. Ukranian Tales. St John’s Eve
53. Christmas Eve
64. A Terrible Vengeance
75. Ivan Fyodorovitch Shponka and his Aunt
81. Old-World Landowners
86. Viy
96. The Tale of how Ivan Ivanovitch quarelled…

9 people found this helpful

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The Diary of a Madman and other stories

The Diary of a Madman and other stories
By Nikolai Gogol

Gogol's stories are so entertaining, so fresh & original. As a writer, he has been given great imaginative gifts. Other stories include the Nevski Prospect, The Portrait, Dead Souls, The Overcoat, Christmas Eve, The Nose and the Inspector General.

8 people found this helpful

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Amazing imagination

He is very funny. He lives to laugh and make us laugh. I loved this collection. Long live Gogol.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Leona Merclova
  • 02-06-22

First half is good, second not so much,sadly...

I'm a big fan of Gogol and Nicolas Boulton's superb narration (ingeniously married in the Dead Souls audiobook),so was very much looking forward to this compilation. Unfortunately it was a bit of a disappointment. The first half- the city, character based stories are good, although mostly quite depressing. I prefer the more amusing, satirical ones, like The Nose. However, the second half is a very different beast. I found the over dramatic, superstitious Ukrainian/Cossack rural stories unbearably repetitive, ultra depressing and tedious. It starts with beautiful, poetic descriptions of the landscape and then quickly descends into a macho, devil obsessed hysterical overload I just haven't the patience for , even when trying to treat as cultural/historical insight.
The narration is still great though and I will seek other books read by N.B. This one would massively benefit from a list of chapters. If any book needs to be accompanied by a PDF file, it's this one!

1 person found this helpful

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  • LC
  • 07-14-21

A great collection of enjoyable stories

I found the stories in this collection to all be enjoyable and engaging, and also to be quite varied.
The are all very well written and well read. I also found it interesting to get some insight into life in “Little Russia” at that time.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ian
  • 07-12-21

Madness made accessible

Before Python and Round the Horne, there was Gogol... another giant of Russian literature doing a lousy PR job for his homeland. This is a good selection of his stories, and the Audible reading makes them considerably more accessible than on the printed page. Perfectly delivered by Nicholas Boulton.

1 person found this helpful

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  • CatherineESP
  • 10-27-22

Gogol is a great storyteller.

Brilliant. These stories are funny and tragic, at times worthy of a Monty python sketch. Nicholas Boulton reads them so we'll.

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  • Robert Kitson
  • 12-07-21

Please provide PDF

This would be a good recording if Audible provided a PDF that lists the stories and shows listeners which audio chapters relate to which stories. Does there exist such a PDF?