Summary

Russian literature exudes an atmosphere of mysticism, which is said to be a natural result of the simplicity of her people. Often, instead of being "about" anything, Russian stories sometimes seem to be the "thing" in itself. Be this as it may, it is an undeniable fact that with hardly any portent of future greatness to come, Russian literature suddenly sprang fully developed into existence in the 19th century. One after another, from Pushkin to Chekhov, some of the greatest writers who have ever lived emerged from the steppes, forests, and cities of Mother Russia.
Selections in Volume I:


In "The Shot", by Alexander Pushkin, a duel is postponed so that it may be continued at a more propitious time.
"The Overcoat", by Nikolai Gogol, is the hilarious tale of a lowly bureaucrat who suddenly finds himself in need of a new overcoat.
"The Tryst", by Ivan Turgenev, is a gorgeous, masterfully written first person narrative of a hunter who overhears two young people: one who loves and one who does not.
In "The Wedding", by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, when a man is invited to a children's ball, he witnesses an amazing incident. Five years later, a posh wedding clarifies everything.
In "A Prisoner in the Caucasus", by Leo Tolstoy, Tartar rebels take a Russian officer prisoner in order to collect a ransom. But the officer's one thought throughout his cruel ordeal is to escape.
In "An Upheaval", by Anton Chekhov, a young governess accused of theft learns the identity of the real culprit.
(P)2002 Audio Connoisseur
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Critic reviews

"Charlton Griffin is an extraordinarily gifted narrator and his performance is enhanced with music and sound effects. These are the classics." ( AudioFile)
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
4 out of 5 stars
By Stephen HJ on 13-03-15

Brits Beware! American Translations

For British listeners, your journey to another time and culture my be spoiled by being viewed through the eyes of a rival culture - American. This was for me most annoying in the "The Overcoat". The story centres on a clerk and by the fiftieth time it had been pronounced to rhyme with "Burke", plus a generous sprinkling of "sidewalks" "candies" etc. I was close to giving up. In the end however the quality of the stories won through - just.

Each of the six stories is by a different author and their styles vary widely - like pictures in a gallery. These range from the impressionists, sketching the outline of a moment, to figurative painters, their pictures full of detail. There are "genre" pictures and allegories. A rich and varied mix.

For those of you who are not familiar with Charlton Griffin (like me) his honeyed voice is at times like a transatlantic Derek Jacobi. He reads well and is especially good at capturing the humour and irony. However some may find the voices he uses for women and children a little strange. This is always a challenge for readers and most merely use a change of inflection. Griffin goes much further and the voice he chooses often restricts variation and emotional range.

It is very good news that these classic tales are available as audio books but for Brits an English translation with a UK voice would be far preferable.

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3 of 4 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Angelita on 27-11-15

Marvellously read

Nuanced reading, good sparing use of music, great stories. Will seek out other books read by Griffin.

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2 of 3 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful
5 out of 5 stars
By john on 25-02-10

Just few hors d'oeuvres of Russian literature

Excellent narration matched to timeless short stories. Russia is a cold and different world from America and these shorts are a good, yet tiny, introduction to the world of Russian literature.

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5 of 5 people found this review helpful

5 out of 5 stars
By Alessandro on 30-10-05

Excellent

I did not the narrator Charlton Griffin: he is an amazing reader, with beautiful voice and an amazing variety of intonations. Look forward to buy new audiobooks read by him. The Russian short stories are extremely entertaining. Highly recommended

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14 of 16 people found this review helpful

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