The Nose by Nikolai Gogol

Enter Nikolai Gogol’s The Nose, a work of wild surrealism that is just the thing to reset your mind and lift your spirits. Although Gogol originally wrote the story in 1835-6, the tale is so absurd that it defies temporal boundaries and is as relatable and humorous today as it was then. Thankfully, it requires no great amount of time, or brainpower, to consume: no more than a leisurely afternoon with a cup of tea and this short story in hand.

The Nose is an often-witty, sometimes biting, commentary of a rigidly structured social hierarchy that appears to have spiralled so wildly out of control as to allow a disembodied nose to be catapulted well above the social status of its original er… owner; Collegiate Assessor Kovalyov. It throws that concept of a person owning their body parts into question, further adding to the absurdity. For why could a disembodied nose not become its own person, asks Gogol. In Gogol’s world, the Nose is capable of anything. The Nose is much like a rebellious teenager, refusing to acknowledge its parent and running around St. Petersburg whilst simultaneously embarrassing Kovalyov simply for having lost it.