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‘We need the literature of other countries to expand our
horizons and stimulate our ideas. Without it, we are not only
diminished, we are starved’
(The Times, Magnus Linklater 29/06/05)
Story of the Nose (The)
by Andrea Camilleri
Age Range: 9-11
When Major Kovalev wakes up one day he discovers to his horror that his nose has disappeared. How could this have happened? Meanwhile, Ivan Yakovlevich, a barber has discovered the grizzly object in a freshly baked bun that his wife has just taken out of the oven and he recognises it as the nose of one of his clients. Worried that he is somehow responsible he decides to dispose of the nose in the river but is prevented from doing so by a police officer.
As Major Kovalev sets out on a mission to discover what has become of his nose, in a surreal twist he encounters a strange gentleman dressed in full military regalia alighting from a carriage and slipping into a doorway. The Major is shocked to discover that it is his very own nose in the guise of a man; his nose has apparently developed a life of its own!
The satirical short story of The Nose was written by Nikolai Gogol who was born in an Ukrainian Cossack village in the Russian Empire in 1809. This is a delightful retelling by Italian best-selling and prize-winning theatre and TV director and author, better known for the Inspector Montalbano series of crime novels.
A quirky, almost nonsensical tale, it has an element of magical realism about it and Camilleri has done an excellent job in bringing it to life. His comical retelling captures the essence of the absurdity of the story and its modern-day fairy-tale-feel has made it more approachable for a younger audience.
The excellent translation has been done by Camilleri’s regular translator Stephen Sartarelli who translates all the Montalbano novels. Appealing watercolour illustrations by Maja Celija add additional humour. The Story of The Nose is part of the ‘Save the Story’ series, a selection of classic stories from around the world that have been retold for today’s children. The series was conceived by Italian writer Alessandro Baricco working in close collaboration with the Scuola Holders in Turin, founded specially to develop new and innovative ways of telling stories.