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. Innovative 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.