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The Overcoat and Other Short Stories
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The Overcoat and Other Short Stories

4.22  ·  Rating details ·  9,410 ratings  ·  271 reviews
Four works by great 19th-century Russian author - "The Nose," a savage satire of Russia's incompetent bureaucrats; "Old-Fashioned Farmers," a pleasant depiction of an elderly couple living in rustic seclusion; "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich," one of Gogol's most famous comic stories; and "The Overcoat," widely considered a masterpiece of ...more
Paperback, Dover Thrift Editions, 103 pages
Published February 21st 1992 by Dover Publications (first published 1842)
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4.22  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,410 ratings  ·  271 reviews


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Rebecca McNutt
I'd heard from people in my English class to avoid this collection because it allegedly was too pretentious and difficult, but after reading it myself I can honestly say I haven't the slightest Idea what they were talking about. I found this book really engaging and easy to follow; the writing was beautiful and powerful all at once, not snooty or pretentious at all. It was original, deep, enlightening and timeless, especially in that it never tries to focus on trends or fads, but rather lifestyl ...more
Fionnuala
Downloaded 'The Overcoat' to better understand Jhumpa Lahiri's 'The Namesake', and discovered several other brilliant stories in the process.
Rachel Mecham
Jun 30, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The Overcoat is my favorite story by Gogol. He writes in the absurd genre so sometimes it seems weird, but he also draws out human emotions to make his characters seem so real and makes such great commentary on life that he makes me want to read and re-read his books. There is a paragraph that talks about how all the people in Akaky's (yep, that's his name!) office mock him that stands out as one those passages that sticks with a person for the rest of their life:

"Only when the jokes were too un
...more
Adam Floridia
Jun 24, 2010 rated it really liked it
"The Overcoat," "The Nose," and "The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich" are all about the most bland and/or odd subjects: a guy gets a new coat, someone's nose runs away, two guys become enemies over a silly insult. The fact that each story managed to keep me reading and chuckling until the end speaks to Gogol's quality as an author. It isn't what he writes about; it is how he writes that is so pleasing. Everything I have read by him is relayed through a tongue-in-cheek ...more
Ben
Sep 09, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
I'm not going to comment on any of the stories in this collection individually, as I wrote reviews for each story, but I will only say that this was a most enjoyable read. This collection contains four works: "Old-Fashioned Farmers," "How the Two Ivans Quarreled," "The Nose" and "The Overcoat." Having now read these in addition to Dead Souls I've made the following observations about Nikolai Gogol:

1) He is very funny. There is humor to be found in all of these stories, and in Dead Souls, often
...more
Alan
Dec 08, 2008 rated it it was amazing
Gogol, who lived from 1809-1852, was decades if not a whole century ahead of his time. His clever, sardonic, cynical stories satirize the world of self-important bureaucrats in ways that still seem eerily relevant.
In "The Overcoat," a humble clerk who spends his days copying documents, is shaken out of his routine when he suddenly acquires a splendid new coat. Suddenly, all his repressed desires come to the surface. I won't reveal the end of the story except to say that it is both funny and sad
...more
Michael Finocchiaro
Gogol was one of Russia's greatest short story writers and this is an excellent introduction to his writing before you attack Dead Souls which is his masterpiece.
Shom Biswas
Jan 19, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-before-2012
Akaky Akakievitch Bashmachkin is a tiny, nondescript, unremarkable man. He was born in St. Petersburg. He works as a clerk at some unremarkable (but nonetheless, let’s have no names) government office in his hometown, and gets paid 400 rubles every year for his efforts. There is nothing especially distinguishable or memorable about him, nothing that can be worth a story. But his is the story, written by Nikolai Gogol, which is the subject of the memorable quote ‘We all come out of Gogol’s Overco ...more
MJD
Jun 15, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I like Gogol's style. It reminds me of Lu Xun and Kafka. The stories themselves in this collection rang from the absurd (in the story about a nose) to the sentimental (in the story of the old farm couple).
Ram Kaushik
Oct 07, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: literature
Superb collection of one of the great Russian writers. The stories brilliantly capture the atmosphere of the time. Gogol was a master at capturing the ordinary travails of ordinary people and the stories evoke a sense of tragedy and a wry bitter sense of humor. Highly recommended!
Ash
Aug 25, 2014 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: recs
An odd collection. I had no preconceptions coming into my first experience of Gogol's work, which probably worked in my favour. There's something appealing about the way he handles the narrator, like he's present in the story even when the 'I' isn't. He passes judgement on his characters, describes each in enjoyable detail, revelling in conventions at the same time as he makes fun of them.

The first story, 'Old-Fashioned Farmers', works as a good introduction to his style. I certainly found it we
...more
Charity
Oct 01, 2009 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Charity by: The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri
Shelves: 1001books
4.5 Stars

Stories include:
- Old-Fashioned Farmers (aka The Old-World Landowners): Very, very touching story of love and loneliness...or, at least, I think so. 4 stars

- The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarreled with Ivan Nikiforovich: What happens when hurt-feelings, pride, and nonsense mess with a life-long friendship...hilarity, that's what! (Note to self: Refrain from using the word goose. Not safe in all company.) Very, very good story. Although, it really reminded me of something I might have
...more
David
Mar 06, 2008 rated it it was ok
The four stories in this slim volume may indeed be 'masterpieces of the form', but they left me as cold as Akakii Akakievich, the unfortunate protagonist of the title story. Gogol has a fine time skewering petty bureaucrats of every stripe, but after a couple of pages it gets old, frankly. Perhaps if I had a better understanding of the relative ranks of a collegiate assessor, a procurement officer, a major, a senate chief clerk, a field officer, a state councillor, a police inspector, and a dist ...more
Frank
Jul 20, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Gogol claims he wishes he could use words the way that artists use paint. Regardless, his words are more than sufficient to fill these tales of 19th-century Russian folk life with acute observations. The stories are not too long and not too short. I got a sense of Russian life and personalities. And it seems that human personalities and foibles have not changed much in the 150 years since he wrote.

'The Overcoat' deserves to be called a classic in my humble opinion.
Gordan Karlic
Feb 01, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Overcoat - 5
Nevsky Prospekt - 3
Nose - 3
Diary of a Madman - 3
Fortunately Overcoat was so good, but unfortunately, rest of the stories weren't.
I like what Gogol is trying to say but don't really like his writing style it is dry and boring at least to me.
Barbara McEwen
3.5 stars
Irmak
Jan 08, 2018 rated it really liked it
Old-Fashioned Farmers - 4 stars.
The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich - 3.5 stars.
The Nose - 4 stars.
The Overcoat - 4 stars.
Conor
Feb 14, 2017 rated it it was ok
These did nothing for me, I must say. I think this is too remote--culturally and chronologically--for it to really resonate with me.

Interesting to see the foretaste of much of what characterizes Soviet bureaucracy and misery preceding the Revolution, though, and to think that they may have been less creations than innate causes of their future manifestations.
CJ Scurria
Jan 12, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
A fantastic piece of literature.

Nikolai was a wonder and this was the first work by him that I had read. He seems to delve in satire, surrealism, and just craft well-made, fun stories.

"Old-Fashioned Farmers" stars a bickering couple who seem to enjoy ribbing and poking fun at each other until a small event leads to tragic consequences.

"The Tale of How Ivan Ivanovich Quarrelled with Ivan Nikiforovich" is about two similarly named once called friends who only relate in their feud with each other a
...more
Chuddchutney Buana
Sep 15, 2010 rated it really liked it
Wandering around through pages of The Overcoat is simply not an easy task. The language that Gogol use is just so old school literature, very hard to chew every words. That's why it took more than a month for me to finish this book ( While the pages are quite thin, only lingering about no more than 200 pages). But, this is a kind of book, that while you might not enjoyed reading it, but the impact resides in you long after you read it. The short stories that Gogol told, either it's the mistifyin ...more
Jessica
Mar 31, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Another testament to Russian literature. Incredibly descriptive, perceptive, hilarious, and thought provoking at the same time. While some of his short stories in this volume are surreal and slightly dark (still with strings of humor woven in), I found his descriptions of the Ukrainian countryside and quiet life of the people who live there really quite endearing.
Maddie
Dec 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Four short stories exemplifying the tragedy and absurdity of life in Russia/Ukraine in the early 1800s.

What I learned: Be grateful that you weren’t living in Russia/Ukraine in the early 1800s. Also, Gogol is surprisingly funny. Ivan Ivanovich’s letter justifying his complaints about the other Ivan was fantastic!
Gary
Jun 08, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Nikolai Gogol's stories ring in free and wild on the wind of the steppes of old Russia, although also with endless bureaucracies. The Mantle and The Overcoat are even the same story, I think.
Vipin Goyal
Feb 14, 2014 rated it it was amazing
"The Overcoat" is one of the best stories that I have read so far.
No doubt "We all come out from Gogol's 'Overcoat'."
Philipp
Sep 10, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: short-stories, russia
Kind of a hit-and-miss thing - "The Nose" and "The Overcoat" are seriously great, the others, not so much.
Chris Burrows
Feb 16, 2015 rated it liked it
There were short stories about characters with similar sounding names; they revolved around petty things.

The Overcoat was about a guy and his coat. People can be mean.
Kyle
Aug 05, 2018 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I expected Gogol's prose to be like the mildly funny dusty stuff of a Brit like Swift or an Italian like Leopardi or a German like Grimm, but it's really not. Maybe it's the mood of Russia/Ukraine that I'm so not used to yet, or something else, but I just didn't feel a spark. Such an 'Eh' introduction to the book, by Frenchman Prosper Mérimée, surprised me first of all -- not exactly critiquing Gogol's misapplied ironies, like in a constructive way, but instead just dumping on the guy; hehe, so ...more
Gabrielle Barnby
Apr 16, 2018 rated it it was amazing
The Overcoat and other short stories.

Nikolai Gogol

Can a story simply go anywhere?

Gogol, where so much begins. These stories demand our utter suspension of disbelief in one way or another. How else can we live with the fact that a nose can leave its owner and live a rebellious life of its own. How is that one man is so disgusted by a trifling insult as to overturn the happiness of his own life. And yet within the absurdity there is the ring of truth.
Gogol shows the vagaries of human nature, he
...more
Janis
Sep 23, 2018 rated it really liked it
When I finished Amor Towles book, A Gentleman in Moscow, I wanted to read a book by a Russian writer.
I had never read Gogol so I found this gem among my shelves of books. First, I didn't realize how relevant his stories are today. His style is typical of Russian writers , very long sentences and confusing names. The "Old-Fashioned Farmers" the couple who "never had any children. . so their affection was concentrated upon themselves...He was not one one of the old men who weary you with praises
...more
Bluebell
Mar 11, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favourites
My first experience of reading Gogol and this was an amazing read. I love these stories. They are powerful, beautifully melancholic and offer such an insight into humanity and the world in which we live. Yes they are cynical at times but also highlight the need for compassion and kindness in the lives we lead. The Overcoat was the greatest short story I ever read. It was so sad, and I felt so sorry for the main character. It almost made me cry. Very powerful indeed.
I also found The Nose absolute
...more
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Nikolai Vasilievich Gogol (Николай Васильевич Гоголь) was born in the Ukrainian Cossack village of Sorochyntsi, in Poltava Governorate of the Russian Empire, present-day Ukraine. His mother was a descendant of Polish nobility. His father Vasily Gogol-Yanovsky, a descendant of Ukrainian Cossacks, belonged to the petty gentry, wrote poetry in Russian and Ukrainian, and was an amateur Ukrainian-langu ...more
“Around the windows and above the doors were a multitude of small pictures, which you grow accustomed to regard as spots on the wall, and which you never look at.” 6 likes
“- How dare you, I repeat, In disregard of all decency, call me a goose?

- I spit on your head, Ivan Ivanovich! What are you screaming so for?”
5 likes
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