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The award-winning translators of Tolstoy and Dostoevsky now bring us a Russian writer ripe for rediscovery whose earthy and singular stories, have never before been properly translated into English

Leskov’s stories of Russian life are explosions of imagination. Peopled by outsized characters including serfs, princes, Gypsy girls, horse dealers, nomadic Tartars and garrulous storytellers, Leskov’s writing exuberantly fables the national character of his age. For the first time, Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky’s translation brings Leskov’s original storytelling and irresistible voice to life.


I don’t know why Nikolai Leskov is not better known: he’s one of the best… You don’t just feel the falling snowflakes and smell the hay – you glimpse where God might be

Sara Wheeler, Observer

Nikolai Leskov is one of the greatest and most popular of the wonderful group of Russian storytellers who flourished in the nineteenth century

New York Times Book Review

Serious criticism ignored him but his tales succeeded instantly with the public... No-one catches so truthfully the diversity of national character of his time. His variety is astonishing... Leskov has both feet in life

V.S. Pritchett

On Lady Macbbeth of Mtensk: 'Short, sharp and shocking novel...It is a strikingly modern work, a sort of souped-up Madame Bovary in which the anti-heroine, the bored provincial housewife Katerina Lvovna Izmailova, is gripped by an excessive passion for a seductive farmhand. She's hardboiled as any Chandler dame as her ardour for her low-born lover takes her down a jet-black road of cruelty and murder'

Sunday Telegraph

Nikolai Leskov fully deserves the privilege of standing in line with such makers of Russian literature as Tolstoi, Gogol, Turgenev and Goncharov. In power and beauty, Leskov's talent cedes only a little to the talent of any one of these men I have named - the creators of the Holy Bible of the Russian land - but in breadth of exposition, in depth of understanding of life's riddles, and in knowledge of the Russian language, he very often surpasses his predecessors and fellow writers

Maxim Gorky

Fabulous episodes that follow one another likes floats at a carnival…

James Meek, London Review of Books

The supreme example of Leskov’s ability to tell a story whose flow is both unstoppable and unpredictable

Robert Chandler, Spectator

[Leskov’s] stories…are worthy of being placed beside the best of Guy de Maupassant

A N Wilson, Times Literary Supplement

My favourite writer, the famous Nikolai Leskov

Anton Chekhov

Leskov is a writer for the future

Leo Tolstoy

Leskov fully deserves the privilege of standing in line with such makers of Russian literature as Tolstoy, Gogol, Turgenev, and Goncharov

Maxim Gorky

Stories as strong as fables and crazy as life

Alice Munroe

Surreal, gripping, violent but comic tales

Margaret Atwood

Nikolai Leskov’s absence from classic Russian literature lists must end now! If you like Russian, and you like funny, you will love Leskov

Gary Shteyngart

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    November 3, 2014

    Vintage Classics

    608 pages

    RRP $24.99

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