Dead Souls, Nikolai Gogol
6.10.11 - 7.3.11
"But we have begun talking rather loudly, forgetting that our hero, asleep all the while his story was being told, is now awake and can easily hear his last name being repeated so often. He is a touchy man and does not like it when he is spoken of disrespectfully. The reader can hardly care whether Chichikov gets angry with him or not, but as for the author, he must in no case quarrel with his hero; they still have many a road to travel together hand in hand; two big parts lie ahead--no trifling matter." pg 251
"Rus, where are you racing to? Give answer! She gives no answer. Wondrously, the harness bell dissolves in ringing,; the air rumbles, shattered to pieces, and turns to wind; everything on earth flies by, and, looking askance, other nations and states step aside to make way."
I wish I had known before I started that chunks of the second part of the manuscript were missing. Finishing the book while a character is literally mid-sentence is an incredibly frustrating experience.
That said, I completely loved this book. I thought it was funny, sassy and interesting. I was so blown away by how Gogol seamlessly dove in and out of the fourth wall in such a manner that didn't feel remotely contrived or forced.
The biggest letdown of the book was really just that there wasn't more of it to read.
When Chichikov was pleased and started to praise himself using loving pet names, only to stop when he remembered he was in public, I literally laughed out loud. This book doesn't betray it's age in the least--the whole novel is so quirky and light.