‘How Things Were Done in Odessa’ by Isaac Babel, translated by Peter Constantine

From 1923, this tells the story of how Benya Krik became The King. It’s funny and it’s not-funny, but it is funny, because you have to laugh. I would also commend to you the story of the death of Froim Grach. And any other of the Odessa stories for that matter. And any of the Red Cavalry stories, of course. And anything by Babel. Everything, in fact, by Isaac Babel. For Isaac Babel is The King.

First published in Russian in LEF: Journal of the Left Front for the Arts #4, 1923. Appears in the Norton Collected Stories of Isaac Babel, 2002

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