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Dead Souls (Paperback) (Nikolai Vasilevich Gogol)
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A mysterious stranger named Chichikov arrives in a small provincial Russian town andproceeds to visit a succession of landowners, making each of them an unusual andsomewhat macabre proposition. He offers to buy the rights to the dead serfs who arestill registered on the landowner's estate, thus reducing their liability for taxes. It is notclear what Chichikov's intentions are with the dead serfs he is purchasing, and despitehis attempts to ingratiate himself, his strange behaviour arouses the suspicions of everyonein the town.A biting satire of social pretensions and pomposity, Dead Souls has been reveredsince its original publication in 1842 as one of the funniest and most brilliant novels ofnineteenth-century Russia. Its unflinching and remorseless depiction of venality in Russiansociety is a lasting tribute to Gogol's comic genius.