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The Overcoat

4.15  ·  Rating details ·  29,075 ratings  ·  2,034 reviews
The Overcoat which is generally acknowledged as the finest of Gogol's memorable Saint Petersburg stories, is a tale of the absurd and misplaced obsessions. ...more
Paperback, 57 pages
Published June 30th 2004 by Kessinger Publishing (first published 1842)
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Average rating 4.15  · 
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Bill Kerwin
Feb 01, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

It is a simple tale, on the surface. Akaky Akakievich (literally "Harmless Son-of-Harmless," but which might sound like "Poopy Pooperson” to a child), an impoverished civil servant and scrivener, must maintain his respectability by possessing a decent overcoat. How he gains a new overcoat, loses that overcoat, and seeks to have the overcoat restored to him constitutes the whole of our story.

Dostoevsky has been quoted as saying, “We all come from under Gogol's Overcoat", and it is true that much
Muhtasin Oyshik
The Overcoat by Nikolai Gogol

"The Overcoat" is a short story about the life of a poor, self-contained official. Every day he had to endure insults and bullying from colleagues. And then an overcoat became the only meaning of life, and fate for him. The author masterfully showed all the indifference and ruthlessness to the poor official. It's a great tale that is strange, tragic and even has a supernatural thing.
"Leave me alone! Why do you insult me?" and in those heart-rending words he heard
Feb 23, 2017 rated it really liked it
Recently I read The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri about two generations of an Indian immigrant family to the United States. The main theme of the novel was that the father Ashoke was reading The Overcoat on a train journey. The train derailed and this slim book saved his life. Indebted to the book, Ashoke decided to name his newborn son Nikhil but gave him the nickname Gogol, after the Russian writer whose works he adored. Lahiri even includes snippets of Gogol's life in her novel, but until now I h ...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
2020 update: I'm bumping this up to all 5 stars on reread. This Russian tale of an introverted man and his trials relating to an expensive (for him) overcoat really hit me on second read. The characterization is so in-depth for a shorter work, especially as it relates to Akaky, the main character, his tailor, and a small-minded bureaucrat. There's also some really interesting symbolism relating to his overcoat and how it affects both Akaky and the people around him. Recommended!

The English trans
“We all come out of Gogol's 'Overcoat" Fyodor Dostoevsky " ...more
Aug 23, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: The entire human race
Shelves: russian, favorites
My first contact with Gogol, and certainly not my last.
This little book tells the story of Akakiy Akakievitch, a certain official in a certain department where nobody showed him any sign of respect. He was laughed at by his co-workers. That must be one of the worst thing that may happen to any human being: realizing that high school did not end (for a lot of people, it wasn't all flowers and rainbows). All the bullying, the bad jokes, the embarrassing moments that make you gently ask the ground
I am aghast that it took me until the ripe old age I am today to read this wonderful short story. Don't let my story be yours. It takes 30 minutes to read. Invest it today.

Also, I read it because of Tadiana's most excellent review, to which I can add nothing of value. It's a must-read.

The Overcoat tells the story of life and death of one Akaky Akakievich, a government official in a certain department. The first part of the story introduces us to the personality of Akaky and his poor living conditions. The job though satisfying doesn't earn enough to keep him well clothed and bred. He is extremely reserved and becomes a constant subject of ridicule. Gogol plants Akaky well in the reader’s hearts in this first part arousing their compassion. Akaky, after much labour and suffe ...more
Aug 30, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely love it ... Kamaszkin as a tragic character always moves me ...
Iris P
Feb 26, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Readers interested in short stories, classical literature
The Overcoat

★★★★ 4 Engaging Stars!

I first heard of this story while reading Jhumpa Lahiri's 2003 fantastic novel The Namesake. Since then, I've been curious to read it and I finally had a chance to do it. (If you Google "The Namesake and The Overcoat", you'll find plenty of posts analyzing the connection between the two).

The Overcoat follows the life and death of Akaky Akakievich, a middle-aged man, that works as a government clerk in St. Petersburg. Akaky, whose annual salary of 400 rubles bare
Oct 20, 2016 rated it really liked it
THE OVERCOAT is a classic Russian satire first published in 1842. It is an atmospheric short story packed with substance and emotion.

THE OVERCOAT belongs to AA, an extremely poor man with an extremely undemanding, meagerly-paying government job, but he diligently completes his work day and night. He is criticized for his apparel and lacks social acceptance.

THE OVERCOAT is old...torn...threadbare...can no longer be mended. AA is sad...devastated, he lacks rubles for a new one. He must curtail ord

Steven Godin
One of the great short-stories from one of the most influential writers of the 19th century. This is only brief in length but comes across as very perceptive of the human condition. Told with a splash of subtle humour and with themes of vanity, self-delusion, and poverty, Gogol's dizzying tale looks at one Akaky Akakiyevich, a St Petersburg office clerk who buys and then loses a new cloak with a cat-fur collar. Whilst wearing it he is transformed into a different person, one of sociable acceptan ...more
Apr 08, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: novella, favorites
You! Don’t celebrate,
My sunken boat;
Washed, to no trace,
Is my Overcoat.

Mountain of copies
Receding in snow,
And flashing I was
Ah… Some show!

My world so grey
Was turning red;
And seeping in
Was sweet kindred.

Dawning upon me
Was also street love,
And gaiety in peals
Showering from above;

Robbed me cold,
You lecherous being!
Soiled my dream,
Sinned my satin!

But blacken you can't,
My phoenix spirit;
That shall be reborn
Blindly, softly lit.

Grinding me down
With thunderous appeal?
Welcome my company now
In transpa
Apr 12, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: e-book
It been a long time since I saw the movie 'The Namesake'. It's a beautiful movie starring Irfan Khan and Tabu. In the movie, Irfan Khan named his son Gogol for his favorite writer and mentioned many times "The world is like Gogol's overcoat".

At that point in my life, my lack of interest in reading stifled me from finding and reading this story. Finally after so many years I came to read this and I regret so much, not have read it till now.

In this story Gogol encapsulates everything in the worl
Absurd. Classic. Fantastic.
In brief , Gogol.

I had my first contact with Gogol a long time ago, during school, and that story " The Nose " - remained imprinted in my mind as a kind of "Invisible Man" of Wells, remembering only the fantastic of writing.
Now, reading " The Mantle", after so many years, I must admit that the fantastic is not the element that jumped into my eyes.
The universe created by Gogol is an absurd one, and the movement and action are, in fact, illusory, the characters them
It's amazing how much depth can be found in such a short story. A story which transcends time and concerns every person of the past, present and, the way things are going, future. It's kind of funny when you think about it, but it's barely 50 pages and a masterpiece. ...more
Ammara Abid
Sep 08, 2017 rated it really liked it
Painstakingly beautiful.
May 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-plus-audio
The Cloak by Nikolai Gogol is a short story of approximately 40 pages.

Set in St. Petersburg, this is a simple story of a common man who lives a quiet life, a gentle soul. He needs a new overcoat to keep him warm in the cold snowy Russian winters, as his old one is threadbare. His journey to achieve this goal presents many important moral issues to contemplate.

But even a gentle soul like Akakiy Akakievitch can have a little more gusto than you may think.

I finished this book wanting to be a kinde
Feb 16, 2021 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: classic, russia
Having read this classic story I feel a bit sorry and a bit amused as often with Gogol. Its topic is rather sad about poverty, abjection and abasement. Something very common in 19th century Russia. But Gogol is not (only) fishing for our compassion, but reveals the social structures behind the plight. Gogol does not accuse anybody directly, but he ridicules them. Above all the "important figure", who once was not important and still is not in the eyes of people more imporant, but important enoug ...more
Mar 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
4.5 stars. I think a lot of readers have chosen to read this as an 'access' piece for Gogol's work and as a precursor for more substantial Russian classics. I know that's why I chose it. And-well-it was excellent. That is quite a skill to, in a short story that took half an hour to read, see the main character as one of ridicule, then to feeling terribly moved by his plight- overjoyed with him at the pleasure he takes in his new cloak, followed by his despair at its loss. Plus a resolution to th ...more
Nov 01, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Here is a novel as we like them: an in-depth character wherein a few pages we identify the personality, a framework that holds from start to finish, a turnaround and a clear and clean end.
Here we find a poor copyist, who only has on his back a simple worn-out hood with holes ... His dream: to be able to afford a coat. He saves every ruble until he can afford it, finally !!
Yes but here it is, a few days after his previous purchases, he gets robbed, and everything drops ... until it dies.
And there
Gloria Mundi
I must have read this for school as a kid. I have definitely read it a very long time ago and I can't imagine I would have done so off my own back.

Anyway. It is a fantastic piece of work, widely acknowledged to be one of the best Russian short stories ever written, if not The Best. I would highly recommend it whether you are already a lover of Russian literature or are just starting to explore it. The idea is simple enough, that every person, no matter how unattractive and inconsequential, dese
Ali Karimnejad
Mar 29, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A fantastic tragic comedy. Gogol masterfully begins his story with his humorous style only to end it with such a bitterness. He is actually criticizing his society sarcastically and harshly about what happens to Akakievich. All the humiliations and teasing Akakievich receives from his colleagues. All the absurdness of his behavior. And Gogol points his finger to his society. The irony is that he does this in a way which causes the reader laugh at Akakievich too, but it does not take very long.

Anna Avian
Dec 07, 2020 rated it it was amazing
It is quite a skill to create an in-depth character, a structure that holds from start to finish, a turnaround and a clear ending in a short story that takes just half an hour to read.
I particularly loved the narration of this:

In the department of - but it is better not to mention the department.

It is not necessary to say much about this tailor; but, as it is the custom to have the character of each personage in a novel clearly defined, there is no help for it, so here is Petrovitch the tailor.

The reader must know that the prominent personage had but recently become a prominent personage, having up to that time been only an insignificant person.
Such an amusing story! The most enjoyable entertainment I've had in a while, disguised as political commentary. The reader might be tempted to take the story seriously except for the fact that (according to Wikipedia, at any rate) the name of the main character, Akaky Akakievich, is equivalent to "Poop Poopson". So well done! ...more
Dec 18, 2010 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian, short-story
Dostoyevsky's quoted: "We all come out from Gogol's 'Overcoat'." Many critics introduce this as the greatest story in the Russian language and a key work in the evolution of Russian literature toward realism. Personally I love Russian short stories than novels or plays, I've found they are only short in their length and stretched in every other aspect.

The work has been interpreted variously as a story of social injustice, as tale of urban alienation and human isolation, as a love story with the
This is one of those iconic stories that is sure to leave an impressiion. It has scores of interpretations and almost everyone can find something in the story that resonates with them. It has a humorous slant to it, but it is also sad in it's depiction of the meaninglessness of life. If you do a search for the best short stories, you will find The Overcoat (The Cloak) right at or near the top. It's a well spent hour of reading. ...more
Tom Mathews
May 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
My first story by Nikolai Gogol is definitely not my last. This quirky little ghost story is more humorous than scary in that it pokes fun of government bureaucrats in a manner not unlike that seen in several Dickens stories.
Dec 02, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I first read this about a hundred years ago. Someone gave a smart little leather bound copy and yesterday was an opportunity to place it in my jacket. I enjoyed such while my wife was inside at a hair appointment.

The story regards the plight of a clerk, an Everyman, a copyist by trade and largely oblivious to the world around him. He has no grasp of social mechanics and lives modestly without vice or hobby. It is to his horror that he discovers that his overcoat is disintegrating. He goes to a t
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RU:Николай Гоголь

Nikolai Gogol (born in Sorochyntsi, Poltava Governorate, Russian Empire, present-day Ukraine) - Russian writer of Ukrainian descent.

Gogol's mother was a descendant of Polish nobility. Gogol's father Vasyl Hohol-Yanovsky, a Ukrainian writer best known for his plays, died when Gogol was 15 years old. In 1820 Gogol went to a school of higher art in Nizhyn and remained there until 18

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