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Odessa Stories By Isaac Babel

Odessa Stories by Isaac Babel

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A collection of short stories by Isaac Babel, situated in Odessa in the last days of the Russian empire and the Russian Revolution.

Odessa Stories Summary

Odessa Stories by Isaac Babel

Odessa was a uniquely Jewish city, and the stories of Isaac Babel - a Jewish man, writing in Russian, born in Odessa - uncover its tough underbelly. Gangsters, prostitutes, beggars, smugglers: no one escapes the pungent, sinewy force of Babel's pen. From the tales of the magnetic cruelty of Benya Krik - infamous mob boss, and one of the great anti-heroes of Russian literature - to the devastating semi-autobiographical account of a young Jewish boy caught up in a pogrom, this collection of stories is considered one of the great masterpieces of twentieth-century Russian literature. Translated with precision and sensitivity by Boris Dralyuk, whose rendering of the rich Odessan argot is pitch-perfect, Odessa Stories is the first ever stand-alone collection of all the stories Babel set in the city - and includes tales from the original collection as well as later ones.

Odessa Stories Reviews

One of those 'where have you been all my life?' books... Fractured, jarring, beautiful, alive to humour... an excellent translation. - Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian

These celebrated stories have never been rendered with the cutting flair Boris Dralyuk's new English translations impart to them. . . Babel's is an ebullient elegy, filled with violence, sex, and life - Los Angeles Review of Books

The salty speech of the city's inhabitants is wonderfully rendered in a new translation by Boris Dralyuk, who preserves the characters' Yiddishisms (He doesn't talk much, but when he talks, you want he should keep talking) and imbues the dialogue with hard-boiled language reminiscent of Dashiell Hammett (Buzz off, coppers... or we'll flatten you). Although Babel mostly lets characters speak for themselves, the narrators' descriptions can be as luxurious as the stolen jewels given to Benya's sister on her wedding night, or as surprising as a slap in the face. - Vice

Glorious stories by the incomparable Babel... This wonderful collection is a companion volume to Red Cavalry. Babel is required reading. - Eileen Battersby, Irish Times (Best Books of 2016)

Fine writing. - East-West Review

The stories read wonderfully. Dralyuk has done an excellent job of capturing Babel's 'voice' and in particular of conveying the tone of Odessan Russian. - Barry Scherr, Emeritus Professor of Russian, Dartmouth College

Electric, heroically wrought prose. - John Updike

Aside from being a great writer, Babel stands as an emblem of the tragedy of 20th century totalitarianism... literary genius framed by 20th-century tragedy. - New York Times

I had read Babel before, but never realized what I was missing. This was the first time I felt that I really had read Babel. It was just a total experience. - Corey Robin, Cullman Center Fellow, for New York Public Library blog

This is a wonderful, highly readable collection of stories. - The London Magazine

His is still an original, sparky voice sounding out of the great Russian literary pantheon. - Paddy Kehoe, RTE Arena

Sparkling, wily and loose-tongued... Babel's dialogue calls for a daring translator... Boris Dralyuk delivers brilliantly. - Times Literary Supplement

It is impossible to look at the world the same way after reading Babel... one of the enduring jewels of 20th-century Russian literature. - Financial Times

Like a fusion of David Sedaris' gentle, self-effacing comedy and Ernest Hemingway's staccato encounters with twentieth century brutality. - Soviet Roulette blog

Lively and entertaining, wonderful written and gives a captivating yet poignant glimpse of a lost world. Plus it's a beautifully produced Pushkin edition - so what more could you want? - Kaggy's Bookish Ramblings blog

About Isaac Babel

Isaac Babel was a short-story writer, playwright, literary translator and journalist. He joined the Red Army as a correspondent during the Russian civil war. The first major Russian-Jewish writer to write in Russian, he was hugely popular during his lifetime. He was murdered in Stalin's purges in 1940, at the age of 45.

Additional information

Odessa Stories by Isaac Babel
Used - Like New
Pushkin Press
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Book picture is for illustrative purposes only, actual binding, cover or edition may vary.
The book has been read, but looks new. The book cover has no visible wear, and the dust jacket is included if applicable. No missing or damaged pages, no tears, possible very minimal creasing, no underlining or highlighting of text, and no writing in the margins

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