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Misha Poltyev, a ‘desperate character,’ squanders his inheritance, senselessly turns to drink, and lives among the beggars of the highway. Eventually, he returns to his family estate and the graveyard where his parents lie:
‘I want to dig myself a grave … and to lie here for time everlasting. There’s only this spot left for me in the world. Get a spade! Oh God! Everywhere nothing but injustice, and oppression, and evil-doing … Everything must go to ruin then, and me too!’
These stories demonstrate Turgenev’s matchless skill for portraying elemental aspects of Russian life: the melancholic, the nostalgic, and the darkly comic.
Six tales written by Turgenev between 1847 and 1881, in Constance Garnett’s classic 1899 translation: A Desperate Character, A Strange Story, Punin and Baburin, Old Portraits, The Brigadier and Pyetushkov. With an introduction by Edward Garnett.
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