Greasy Lake

The Overcoat II

This is the final story of the collection. T.C. Boyle rewrites the classic Nikolai Gogol story, but transports his characters into the Cold War era. The main character, Akaky Akakievich Bashmachkin, a "hard-nosed revolutionary communist worker," hopes to purchase a new "Good Quality Soviet Made Winter Coat." [20] Akaky purchases a winter coat from his tailor Petrovich at a cost of Five-hundred and fifty Rubles, however, unbeknownst to Akaky the coat was a "Black Market" purchase. The fine cloth coat with "a fur collar, like those in Paris," elevates Akaky in his workplace as everyone notices, the "party tool and office drudge" is now strutting like a "coryphee with the Bolshi." Like Gogol's story, Akaky is given a taste of respect and happiness symbolized by the coat only to have it ripped away to tragic effect.[21] In keeping with surreal situations, Akaky finds himself embroiled in police matters while the recipient of smuggled goods.


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