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Diaboliad and Other Stories

4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  844 ratings  ·  17 reviews
The only translation of Bulgakov's entire first collection of short stories, works which range from the surreal to science -fiction to parody.

Contents: Diaboliad, The Fatal Eggs, "No. 13, the Elpit-Rabkommun Building," "A Chinese Tale," and "The Adventures of Chichikov."
Paperback, 236 pages
Published September 1st 1993 by Vintage Books USA (first published September 1972)
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MJ Nicholls
Four stories. ‘Diaboliad’ is a farcical satire on bureaucratic absurdity, a surreal reworking of Dostoevsky’s The Double that clouds the narrative’s clarity with too many oddities. ‘No. 13—The Elpit Workers’ Commune’ is even more strange, an over-the-top blackly comic story about a collapsing building and the ensuing casualties. The tone is extremely uneven and lacking in a narrative viewpoint or point of focus. ‘A Chinese Tale’ is a little too time-specific to have any contemporary value. ‘The ...more
Mikhail Bulgakov (1891 - 1940) and the composer Dmitri Shostakovich (1906 - 1975) had met and briefly toyed with the idea of working together on a dramatic work. It was not to be, but their collaboration is a tantalizing "might have been". Indeed, the more I read of Bulgakov, the more he reminds me of Shostakovich. Not the composer of the symphonies perhaps, but the Shostakovich of the circus music, of the manic and dissonant galops, of the acerbic music theatre pieces. This is particularly true ...more
Anyone who has read Bulgakov will enjoy witnessing the use of his talents in this collection. Anyone who hasn't read Bulgakov before -- well, this would be quite the odd book with which to begin. How in the world would you stumble across this randomly? I suppose it could be grouped with some other writing from the same location and period -- there are similarities between Bulgakov's style and that of other Soviet writers, but I do believe he's special. As for Diaboliad, I found that I had to foc ...more
Eric Bruen
Kafka in wonderland! My mind was elsewhere reading this but I'm not sure I would have taken any more in if I had been giving it my full attention.
Eldonfoil TH*E Whatever Champion
Between a seemingly feeble translation in parts, a lot of inside jokes, and Bulgakov's over-the-top style, it's hard to find your way in a number of these early stories. However, I loved No. 13—The Elpit Workers Commune and thought The Adventures of Chickhikov was also pretty brilliant.
If "revenge is a dish best served cold" then satire is a dish best served piping hot. This serving is tepid at best which is a shame because in its day I’m sure it did exactly what it was intended to do. I don’t think, however, that the stories have worn as well as The Master and Margarita which although similar has stood the test of time. Diaboliad is an interesting read as an historical document but I’m not as sure of it as a literary one.

You can read my full review on my blog here.
Suncan Stone
Not as good as The Master and Margarita, but then... it would probably be surprising if it was. Appropriately enough I read Diaboliad (the first story) while waiting in a 60s socially equipped dentist surgery (in 2009, not to be mistaken) and it seemed the perfect ambience for that story. Diaboliad is also my favourite story in the book, for some of the others truly seem a tad mediocre, even though The adventures of Chichikov isalso a good one as it has a lot of references to Gogol, and I always ...more
An astounding writer, certainly one of the finest Russian writers of the last century. This book contains four stories and all are very good. The title story, 'The Diaboliad', is a nightmarish novella about a minor clerk who ends up lost in the absurd labyrinth of Soviet bureaucracy. His attempts to protest against his sacking are complicated by the fact that both he and his boss have identical doubles. This work is like a more frenetic version of Kafka's *The Trial* and features some truly biza ...more
The Fatal Eggs —a sci=fi treatment of rapid industrialization and bioengineering gone wrong — is a must-read piece. The other stories felt a little like Bulgakov's ramping up for The Master & Magarita. ...more
Initially I had The Fatal Eggs on my list, but when I saw that this collection contained that tale among others I made the switch. Turns out I could have saved some time and stayed with my original selection. These stories do not endure being taken out of context; they are better suited for a study of Soviet literature in the early 1920s than a study of the author's works.
Eliz Mananadhar
these stories didn't live upto my expectations. also, the innumerous headachy Russian references were quite a handful. i feel the translation was pretty bad too.. but bulgakov's surrealistic-meets-everyday style is praiseworthy..
I really enjoyed 'The Fatal Eggs.' It had elements of action and science fiction and I wouldn't have suspected end result at all, weird surprising twists. It ended just the way I liked it.
Abhishek Ganguly
Mikhail Bulgakov is a man after my own heart - crafty in explaining the human face of a story, yet not unrealistic in any line.
He has definitely revived my interest is Russian writing.
you can see the beginnings of his masterpiece "master and the margarita" in these stories.
Bulgakov in short stories. Still absurdal climate and really good writing.
I've only read Diaboliad, in the swedish translation
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Mikhail Bulgakov was born in Kiev in May 1891. He studied and briefly practised medicine and, after indigent wanderings through revolutionary Russia and the Caucasus, he settled in Moscow in 1921. His sympathetic portrayal of White characters in his stories, in the plays The Days of the Turbins (The White Guard), which enjoyed great success at the Moscow Art Theatre in 1926, and Flight (1927), and ...more
More about Mikhail Bulgakov...
The Master and Margarita Heart of a Dog The White Guard A Country Doctor's Notebook The Fatal Eggs

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