The Galosh by Mikhail Zoshchenko

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In his prime, satirist Mikhail Zoschenko was more widely read in the Soviet Union than either Pasternak or Solzhenitsyn. His stories give expression to the bewildered experience of the ordinary Soviet citizen struggling to survive in the 1920’s and ‘30s, beset by an acute housing shortage, ubiquitous theft and corruption, and the impenetrable new ideological language of the Soviet state. Written in the semi-educated talk of the man or woman on the street, these stories enshrine one of the greatest achievements of the people of the Soviet Union—their gallows humor.

Housing block tenants who reject electricity because it illuminates their squalor too harshly, a young couple who live in a bathroom, a railway-line manager making a speech against bribery who accidentally mentions his own affinity for kickbacks—in all of Zoschenko’s characters, petty materialism is balanced with a poignant faith in the revolutionary project. Zoschenko, the self-described "temporary substitute for the proletarian writer," combines wicked satire and an earthy empathy with a brilliance that places him squarely in the classic Russian comic tradition.

Jeremy Hick’s translation of The Galosh brings together sixty five of Zoschenko’s finest short stories—bringing the choice writings of perhaps Soviet Russia’s most humorous and moving writer to American readers for the first time.


About Mikhail Zoshchenko

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Jeremy Hicks is Lecturer in Russian at Queen Mary, University of London. His publications include "Mikhail Zoshchenko and the Poetics of Skaz," a translation of "Zoshchenko's short stories," and articles about Russian film.
Published August 17, 2006 by Overlook Hardcover. 213 pages
Genres: Humor & Entertainment, Literature & Fiction, History. Fiction

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