One morning, the barber Ivan Yakovlevich awakens and decides to have fresh loaf of bread for breakfast. The ordinary event is accompanied by an unordinary occurrence. As he cuts up the loaf, Ivan Yakovlevich finds a nose baked inside of it. To his horror, he discovers the nose belongs to one of his regular customers, Major Kovalyov. The barber tries to displace the nose on several occasions, but he never succeeds, as always there is someone who interrupts him and eventually he even gets arrested by the police, trying to drop the nose into the Neva river.
On the same morning, Major Kovalyov wakes up to discover his nose is missing from between his cheeks. Later he encounters his nose in the city, dressed in a uniform implying a higher rank than Kovalyov’s. The major tries to talk to the nose about the unusual incident, however, he is unable to reason with it. Soon after, the nose takes its leave. Kovalyov tries to follow it, but with no luck. As a result, the major pays a visit to a newspaper office with the intent of placing an advertisement about his lost nose, but he is dismissed.
Later in the day, Kovalyov returns to his apartment. A police officer, who arrested the barber that morning visits Kovalyov and returns him his nose. Kovalyov is thrilled until he discovers he has no way of attaching the nose back to his face. Consequently, he calls on the doctor, but he is of no help. The following day, the major sends a letter to a widow, who wishes him to merry her daughter, and accuses her of cursing him, because he was inattentive to her daughter, and asking her to undo it. The reply he receives makes him believe in the widow’s innocence.
In the morning of 7th April, the major awakens and finds his nose back between his cheeks. Ivan comes to shave him, and afterwards Kovalyov continues with his usual affairs.