Of the many elements which make this volume especially appealing to dedicated Gazdanov readers is that all but one of the stories is written — like his suave, cosmopolitan human comedy with a twist, The Flight — in the third person. The use of the omniscient narrator adds an interesting detachment; the distance slows and ... How to define the genius of Gaito Gazdanov, the boy who stared certain death in the eye? He understood how human beings struggle to live in the world while shouldering the burden of their obsessive thoughts, fears, desires, and regrets.
In Karetnyk’s excellent translation, Gazdanov’s prose appears at the height of elegance. But as these stories reveal, that elegance can belie a certain heavy-handedness in theme and worldview ... We’re lucky to have these stories. A fine introduction to the short prose of a modernist master.
This collection of short fiction from Gazdanov (1904–1971), following the novel The Flight, is a stellar showcase of the Russian-born Parisian’s striking voice ... This collection is Gazdanov at his best, allowing readers to slowly pry open the secrets of its cast of dilettantes and lost souls.