Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol: Background information when reading A Country You Can Leave

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A Country You Can Leave

A Novel

by Asale Angel-Ajani

A Country You Can Leave by Asale Angel-Ajani X
A Country You Can Leave by Asale Angel-Ajani
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  • Published:
    Feb 2023, 320 pages


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Book Reviewed by:
Elisabeth Cook
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About this Book

Dead Souls by Nikolai Gogol

This article relates to A Country You Can Leave

Dead Souls book cover depicting two stooped peasants with a sackIn A Country You Can Leave by Asale Angel-Ajani, teenage narrator Lara characterizes her mother Yevgenia's reading habits as something akin to a religious experience. She describes coming upon her at a time when she was utterly absorbed by Nikolai Gogol's Dead Souls: "...a book she had read before, only this time she was reading the Italian translation. Months later she read it again in Spanish. My mother reads for nostalgia. The same twenty or maybe twenty-five books year in and year out, in the original and in translation. Once I know this, I understand that what my mother seeks from books isn't what I seek. I want to be lifted up, carried away. She wants to be anchored. The exact opposite of what each of us wants from our real life."

If this is the case, Yevgenia's choice of reading material reflects that fact as much as her reading patterns do. Dead Souls (Myortvye dushi in Russian), published in 1842 and considered a classic of Russian literature, is a unique picaresque work ...

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