In the title piece of this collection a party of guests wonder
at the great comet which has appeared in the sky, and give
their predictions of what this ill omen portends for the Earth.
Mixing elements of the Gothic with fantasy, this piece marks
the dawn of Russian science fiction, and constitutes a prime
example of the creativity and imagination of Odoevsky’s storytelling.
Including the much-loved children’s story ‘The Little Town
in the Snuffbox’, the mysteries ‘Imbroglio’ and ‘The Black
Glove’, and the artistic portrait ‘Beethoven’s Last Quartet’,
this volume of Odoevsky’s short stories represents some of
the finest of early-nineteenth-century Russian short fiction.
'A powerful and energetic talent.' Vissarion Belinsky
'There is something of Gogol's protean genius about Odoevsky, as well as an eye both sharp and jaundiced being cast on Russian society... Beautifully translated, and I wouldn't mind reading plenty more by Odoevsky. Credit to the publisher for bringing him back to our attention.' Nicholas Lezard, The Guardian
'The translator and publisher have done western readers a service in rescuing this important writer from obscurity.' Russia from beyond the Headlines
'Expertly translated.' East-West Review
'[A] key founder of Russian science fiction.' TLS