Monday, March 25, 2019

Tales of Belkin by Alexander Pushkin

Author: Alexander Pushkin
Original title: Повести покойного Ивана Петровича Белкина 
Pages: 82
Edition Language: Russian
Series: no
Format: paperback
Genres: Classics

   This collection is a set of stories within a story. The preface by "the editors" incorporates a letter from a friend of the eponymous Belkin, describing the dead writer's character, history and interests. The stories are themselves said to be tales once told to Belkin by various and sundry figures.
My thoughts: 
    Pushin is often referred to as the father of modern Russian literature. Though the title implies gravity and humorlessness, Pushkin was a very funny writer. He was light-hearted and good-spirited Thus, his writing, both poetry and prose almost always interwoven with satire, parody and allusions. And this book is a great example in that regard. The five tales of Belkin were brief, to the point, and composed with a lightness that I found delightful. Curiously, the story I liked best was the only sad one The Stationmaster. My childhood favorite was The Mistress Peasant and I was not so enchanted this time.
      I have read many reviews where people find the stories quite funny and witty. True, but I was finding a lot of drama between the lines. Where are scenes in which you can see many social problems, inequality and bulling. At the same time other matters as parental love, sense of duty and pride are discussed in this witty and fun collection of short stories that made me feel genuine delight and enjoyment.
The Shot - a duel is derailed when one participant notices the indifference his opponent has towards his inevitable demise (5 stars)
The Blizzard - an aristocratic young woman falls in love with a young officer, but her parents disapprove of the relationship so they decide to elope, marry quickly, and then beg forgiveness (5 stars)
The Undertaker - an undertaker returns home after a party offended after someone jokingly offers a toast to the health of Prokhorov's customers; he decides to hold his house-warming party with his customers rather than his neighbors (3 stars)
The Postmaster - a returning traveler is surprised to see the station master's change of fortune after this daughter's kidnapping (5 stars)
The Mistress Peasant - in order to meet the handsome new arrival, a young lady pretends to be a peasant girl(4 stars)  


  1. I haven't read many Russian authors, and I've never heard one described as funny and light-hearted. Which makes me think Pushkin is the Russian author I need to try first. :)

    1. Definitely. Those stories are short and nice, best way to read something from Russian classics.