"The Queen of Spades" is the best known and probably the best of all Russian short stories. It confronts the great riches of a few and the impoverishment of the many in the form of the assistant to the fabulously rich and old Countess; Hermann, who seeks great wealth through any means; and the countess's knowledge of how to win one's fortune on three cards. The denouement is worthy of being considered one of the finest in literature. As a great critic said, Gogol's "The Overcoat" may have been the great work that inspired Russian authors such as Fyodor Dostoevsky, but the "Queen of Spades" inspired all of literature.
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To hear Pushkin's classic mangled by such an egregious reading is painful indeed. Deaver Brown could not manage some of the Russian names with any consistency or accuracy - even though the patronymics had been omitted. Nor could he distinguish between "external" and "eternal". Or correctly pronounce "flaccid." But these are quibbles compared to utter lack of any attempt at characterisation, or variety in tone and pace. I thought that perhaps this gentleman was a long-retired American academic, making an extra buck by recording classic texts, but no - to my horror, Audible lists quite a few books he has recorded. Avoid.
This is a tale which veers from the delicate to the macabre; more is left unsaid than stated and the reader (or listener) anxiously tries to fill in the gaps before the denouement. It requires a dramatic range sadly lacking in this effort.