A Bad Business

Essential Stories

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Pub Date 29 Mar 2022 | Archive Date 07 Feb 2022
Pushkin Press, Pushkin Collection

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A stunning new edition featuring fresh translations of six of this classic Russian writer's most thrilling short stories in a beautiful Pushkin Collection edition.

This vivid collection of new translations by Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Maya Slater illuminates Dostoevsky's dazzling versatility as a writer.
His remarkable short fiction swings from wickedly sharp humour to gripping psychological intensity, from cynical social mockery to moments of unexpected tenderness.
The stories in this collection range from impossible fantasy to scorching satire.
   A civil servant finds a new passion for his work when he's swallowed alive by a crocodile.
   A struggling writer stumbles on a cemetery where the dead still talk to each other.
   An arrogant but well-intentioned gentleman provokes an uproar at an aide's wedding, and in the marital bed.
   A young boy finds unexpected salvation on a cold and desolate Christmas Eve.
A stunning new edition featuring fresh translations of six of this classic Russian writer's most thrilling short stories in a beautiful Pushkin Collection edition.

This vivid collection of new...

Advance Praise

"A sprightly new translation... reminds us how extremely funny [Dostoevsky] could be". --Times Literary Supplement

"A sprightly new translation... reminds us how extremely funny [Dostoevsky] could be". --Times Literary Supplement

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ISBN 9781782276739
PRICE $18.00 (USD)

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Featured Reviews

Fyodor Dostoyevsky wrote for us all and thus made it to the pantheon of the world’s greatest writers, where we still worship him as such. Times change, new technology and political systems come along, but at the heart of Dostoyevsky’s writing is always the human condition, and whilst we carry on living, his writings will always be relevant. I do know that at times people can be a bit intimidated when they look at the length of something such as The Brothers Karamazov, feeling that perhaps it looks too long, or that they do not have the time to read something so large. With this particular book though there is no worry of that, as we only have six short stories here to indulge in. Here though it could be argued that we have the essence of the author, and so personally I would recommend this as an introduction to the writer as a whole so that you can get a taste of his range and style. It does have to be admitted that nowadays, in this country at least it is often overlooked that Dostoyevsky wrote more than just novels, and his short stories are just as valid and as readable, and also with these tales as they are much shorter, we can see clearly his grasp of humour, satire, and the absurd. Here then we start off with A Bad Business, where we read what happens when a senior civil servant gate-crashes a wedding party of a very junior member of his staff. As the evening progresses and the boss becomes more inebriated, we can see the embarrassment that he feels he has brought upon himself, especially with the effects causing a disturbance on the following day as he has a serious hangover. The second tale is Conversations in a Graveyard, where a man starts to overhear the dead talking amongst themselves. Those familiar with Irish literature will clearly see how this short story obviously provided inspiration for a famous novel. We then have A Meek Creature, and here we are reading the thoughts of a man as he looks back and contemplates what has led up to the suicide of his wife. Following this we have the hilarious The Crocodile, where a man is swallowed alive, and whole by a crocodile. What then follows is well worth reading as there are arguments with what to do with the crocodile and the man, with greed and egotism getting in the way of what the crocodile owner wants, and what the swallowed man envisions, which is to make himself a celebrity. Finally, we have The Heavenly Christmas Tree, and The Peasant Marey, both of which show how tender and thoughtful the author could be. The first of these takes place at Christmas and reminds all of us of the plight of the destitute, and the last piece is semi-autobiographical as we read of an incident that took place when the writer was only nine, and that brought him some comfort whilst he was incarcerated. In all then this does make for a book that is well worth reading and reminds us of the brilliance of Dostoyevsky and makes a great introduction for those who are coming to this author for the first time. I was kindly provided with a review copy of this by the publisher via NetGalley for reviewing purposes.

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A Bad Business was a delightful and fascinating short story collection, not least because it showcased a different side to Dostoevsky than we see in his novels. There is still some psychological introspection here, but there is also humour and wit. 'The Crocodile' in particular kept me smiling from start to finish, and that was one of my favourite tales, along with 'The Meek One' and 'A Bad Business'. If you are already a fan of Dostoevsky, you will want to check out this collection. If you've wanted to read Dostoevsky but have worried the novels will be too heavy going, these short stories may offer a good place to start. The book gets five stars from me.

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"A Bad Business" is a collection of Dostoevsky's most beloved short stories; ideal for readers that have yet to dip their toes into the genius that is Fyodor Dostoevsky's prose and stories.

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Ok this was amazing. Russian literature? Amazing!! I really do love Russian classics and to be able to focus on 6 fantastic Russian stories was great. I really ended up enjoying this more then I expected to and would definitely recommend. 5 out of 5 stars.

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These 6 new translations of Dostoevsky’s short writings were new to me, but gave me everything I would expect from this author. Some of the stories are longer than others, but they all pack a punch and are filled with the usual insightful characters and commentary on Russian society. Each one of these tales feels relevant today because Dostoevsky masterfully examines the human condition in everything. Some of these are funny, the title stories A Bad Business, Conversations in a Graveyard (Bobok), and Crocodile are silly fun, but of course are full of metaphor and meaning. A Meek Creature, The Heavenly Christmas Tree and the Peasant Marey show us the brutal side of Russian society, poverty, prison life, war. Doestoevsky perceptively writes from many points of view that is still relevant and relatable today. This was a really fun reading experience for me and I recommend.

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This collection of six short stories shows the full range of Dostoyevsky’s themes from the satirical humour of The Crocodile to the sadness of The Heavenly Christmas Tree. A dark comedy about class in A Bad Business (also known as A Nasty Story). Bobok or Conversations in a Graveyard is about an author lingering in a graveyard overhearing the chatter of the recently dead. The sixth story is A Meek Creature (or A Gentle Spirit) about the suicide of a young bride. Her pawnbroker husband narrates the story, justifying all his own actions leading up to it. Such a great writer, I loved this book!

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