Nikolai Leskov's writing exploded the conventions of nineteenth-century Russian fiction. Here is the other Russia, mythical and untamed: an uneasy synthesis of Orthodoxy and Old Believers, a land populated by soldiers and monks, serfs and princes, Tartars and gypsies--a vast country brimming with the promise of magic. These seventeen tales, some rooted in the oral tradition, others cast as sophisticated anecdotes, are all told in the voices of storytellers addressing their audience--allowing us, as readers, to join a group of listeners. Invative in form and rich in wordplay, the narratives unfurl in startlingly modern ways. The great gift of this new translation allows us to hear all the nuances of Leskov's brilliant language.
Nikolai Leskov was born in 1831 in the village of Gorokhovo in Russia. He began his writing career as a journalist living in Kiev, and later settled in St. Petersburg, where he published many short stories and novellas, including The Lady Macbeth of Mtsensk (1865), The Sealed Angel (1873), The Enchanted Wanderer (1873), and Lefty (1882). He died in 1895. Together, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have translated works by Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, Chekhov, Gogol, Bulgakov, and Pasternak. They were twice awarded the PEN/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize (for their versions of Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov and Tolstoy's Anna Karenina ), and their translation of Dostoevsky's Demons was one of three nominees for the same prize. They are married and live in France.