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Isaac Babel honed one of the most distinctive styles in all Russian literature. Brashly conversational one moment, dreamily lyrical the next, his stories exult in the richness of everyday speech and sensual pleasure only to be shaken by brutal jolts of violence.
These stories take us from the underworld of Babel’s native Odessa, city of gangsters and lowlives, of drunken brawls and bleeding sunsets, to the terror and absurdity of life as a soldier in the Polish-Soviet War. Selected and translated by the prize-winning Boris Dralyuk, this collection captures the irreverence, passion and coarse beauty of Babel’s singular voice.