The History of a Town by M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin

Review published on January 6, 2017.

I really enjoyed The History of a Town. It is a satirical novel, a parody of Russia in the 19th Century. The story is basically a mock chronicle of the governors of a fictional Russian town, Glupov (translates as Stupid Town). The caricaturial portrayals of the governors reflect politicians of the time and the town represents Russia at that time and back through the country’s history.

It was written in Russian in 1870 but has translated really well and is still relevant today. It is easy to read, but you do need to refer to the notes if you want to understand certain historical points.

It is an amusing book, really well written to give a good general view of Russia in that period and how the governors are portrayed is very funny. It has some strange content such as one governor having a music box in his head but that is what makes the book so enjoyable.

I am not sure it would be to everyone’s taste but as a lover of history, particularly Russian history, and a huge fan of historical fiction, this was a joy for me to read.

I was disappointed with the edition I received though, as about 16 pages were missing from the book and the pages of a different book were in their place.

Jo Kirk 5/2

The History of a Town by M.E. Saltykov-Shchedrin
Apollo 9781784975425 pbk Sep 2016

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