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19 November 2018

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Gogol's Head

By U.R. Bowie (

A rollicking good read that uses the apocryphal "missing head” story (when Gogol was disinterred from Danilov Monastery’s graveyard in 1931, the academic Vladimir Ludin alleged 15 years later that the body was discovered to be on its side and with no head) as the take-off point for a Gogolian satire. Flipping back and forth in time, sprinkling in Russian phrases, and rife with pointed references to Russian literature, culture, history and life, this is a novel that draws a very porous line between fact and fiction. Which makes it all the more fun, as long as you are comfortable with a bit of uncertainty.

— Paul E. Richardson

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Reviewed in Russian Life: Jan/Feb 2018