Apparently this was supposed to be a novel intended to show Russian mentality and character. I surely couldn't agree more after this book was finished. (Yes, it's a Russian novel.)
It's basically the wanderings of Pavel Ivanovich Chichikov. After some research, I found out that the beginning of it was supposed to be a modern day Inferno of Divine Comedy. That reminds me of another book that had a similar idea (but obviously Gogol did it before that one ever existed). It was called Linden Hills by Gloria Naylor. Another novel that wasn't too bad.