'Everyone makes mistakes, even God.' In the original Odessa Stories collection published in 1931, Babel describes the life of the fictional Jewish mob boss Benya Krik - one of the great anti-heroes of Russian literature - and his gang in the ghetto of Moldavanka, around the time of the October Revolution. Praised by Maxim Gorky and considered one of the great masterpieces of twentieth-century Russian literature, this is the first ever stand-alone collection of all Babel's narratives set in the city, and includes the original stories as well as later tales.
Isaac Babel was a short-story writer, playwright, literary translator and journalist. He joined the Red Army as a correspondent during the Russian civil war. The first major Russian-Jewish writer to write in Russian, he was hugely popular during his lifetime. He was murdered in Stalin's purges in 1940, at the age of 45.