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The book was fine in terms of binding and presentation. I'm coming at the book from the point of view of the description of coughing. In some translations of Alexander Pushkin and The Captain's Daughter or The Daughter of the Commandant,there are the words "cross little cough" or "cough of ill-humor". Here in this translation the words used are that Savelyich "only groaned now and then" and "he replied with a deep sigh". The noise of coughing can be oppressive or repressive or hostile or unfriendly and I would go for a translation which specifically mentions this.Something is lost in the omission. Perhaps it depends on one's point of view or vulnerability but omitted in a version the voyage of a life could be sent in shallow and misery.One has to battle with this contemptuous coughing sometimes.
4.0 out of 5 starsRussia's master of lit, made accessible
Reviewed in the United States on 16 August 2016
Pushkin is considered a Russian national treasure and this wonderful collection shows why. More contemporary than you might expect, Pushkin examines the lives and loves of ordinary Russians, from peasants to army officers to nobles. His characters are rich and human and never cease to be entertaining.
Some of the stories are not as mature structure-wise as we are used to. Pushkin was writing before the advent of modern literature -- his stories tend to end on a twist that isn't really that interesting or unexpected today, and they seem a bit abrupt. But he was writing before twists were common, and it's a bit like reading the early works of an amazingly gifted writer as he was beginning to feel his way and his confidence.
This is my first experience with Pushkin so I have no other translations to compare it to. However, I can say that the writing feels both modern and period at the same time and highly accessible. The authors have included plenty of end notes in case you want or need an explanation of terms, but they are usually not necessary to understand what Pushkin is saying.
I particularly loved the first work included, a novel loosely based on Pushkin's African forebear, who became a Turkish slave until he was bought and given to Peter the Great. Unfortunately, Pushkin never finished The Moor of Peter the Great, which is too bad, because reading about a black man in Paris in the late 1900s and then in St. Petersburg was quite interesting.
Russian lit is always more interesting and humorous than I think it's going to be. Read this, if nothing else, to gain a deeper understanding of the Russian POV, but also to appreciate the beginning of modern literature.
The good news is that Novels, Tales, Journeys contains the complete prose of Alexander Pushkin. The bad news is that many of the stories are not complete. Pushkin’s finished stories (especially the novella “The Captain’s Daughter”) are masterpieces. There’s plenty of action, color, scenery, emotion, plot twists. In the Romantic era they really knew how to tell a story, as opposed to what I call “New Yorker” pieces where the action and emotion are about as involving as pushing a salt shaker across the table. That makes it all the more frustrating that those promising starts are now just fragments, never to be finished. Or maybe I’m wrong—perhaps some enterprising modern writer can actually finish them in the same style?
4.0 out of 5 starsOutstanding translation of works by a great Russian
Reviewed in the United States on 31 August 2016
Told with the translators' usual attention to detail and ability to capture the nuances of the Russian language in English, this book is a collection of the prose writings of the Father of Russian literature. The selections include biography, short stories, unfinished novels and travel pieces.