Justly regarded as a seminal masterpiece of Russian literature, Gogol's 1842 novel of an opportunistic schemer who tours the provinces drawing in his gullible countrymen by means of their own prejudices and pretensions has lost none of its trenchant force. Reader Boulton deftly navigates the playful digressions of a stylist who raised the...
run-on sentence to an art form, voicing Gogol's omniscient, bemused, and often-perplexed narrator in a smooth, urbane baritone well suited to the elegant reserve of Constance Garnett's 1922 translation.
The episodic swindles of antihero Chichikov unveil a rogue's gallery of folly, hubris, and venality, and Boulton ably and with relish inhabits a varied cast of serfs, landowners, bureaucrats, generals, nobles, and even a horse.
Listeners new to Dead Souls may be surprised by the fragmentary state of its second half, but more than enough satiric brilliance remains to make this unabridged recording a highly recommended purchase for most libraries. --David Wright, Booklist 2017