This felt like an epic novel although it was only 434 pages long (my copy). Probably as a result of the wordy descriptions.
A young man in his twenties feels forced, as a result of his poverty, into committing murder. He ends up committing double murder. The book concentrates on his mind and the emotions he goes through regarding the double murder whilst also dealing with his continuing poverty, not to mention his family. I won't spoil the ending.
Worth reading as it's a classic and it's also very good. An insight into the times and culture of Russian society at the time.
This is a short story, some 92 pages in my copy, but it does pack a lot into said pages so it took me much longer to read than I anticipated. I'd class it as deliciously difficult.
This is Dostoevsky writing both stream of consciousness and existentialism (how's that for a combination!) in a combination that I've never seen before.
From Amazon :
Isolated from society in a tenement basement in St. Petersburg, a malicious former civil servant vents his resentments. In the rambling notes that follow, we are exposed to the inner turmoil of the Underground Man, who represents the voice of his generation. An emotional, paranoid knot of contradictions, the spiteful narrator is also desperate to join a society he loathes, if only to prove his superiority to it.
Exploring themes of free will versus determinism, Dostoyevsky’s existential exploration was written to challenge increasingly popular Western egoist philosophies. In the Underground Man, he found the embodiment of the antihero, whose behaviour—like all human behaviour—defies rationalization.
So, the book is called Notes from Underground because we are reading the notes of a man who feels that he forms the underground. It does ramble, like the thoughts of a man (stream of consciousness) and ponders his own and other's behaviour (existentialism). The prose is amazing and it's worth reading for just that alone.
I'd recommend this even although it would be difficult to read for the average (like me) reader.
My copy is the Wordsworth Classics one, complete and unabridged, containing the banned chapter 9 and translated by Constance Garnett. It is seen by some critics (it says on the back) as Dostoevsky's masterpiece. I can't comment on that because I haven't read his other work.
This book is long, almost 700 pages and the story proper doesn't start until page 600. Thus it requires a bit of stamina to get there but once there the reader is rewarded with multiple murders and much drama. The prose is marvellous and that's what kept me reading. There is a wealth of characters (around 50) and some of the main players have two different names that they are referred to e.g. the first character we are introduced to is Stepan Trofimovitch Verhovensky. Most of the time he is referred to as Stepan Trofimovitch but sometimes as Verhovensky. This can be confusing and I found the constant using of first names and second names when referring to a character distracting too e.g. even with dialogue Stepan Trofimovitch was referred to as Stepan Trofimovitch, and just when you were getting used to this he would be referred to as Verhovensky. Some characters only have one name so there's a lot to get a hold of.
The story is based on a real life murder and the characters are written about extensively. Some get away and some don't. I did not guess the ending, which was good for me.
I found this tough going and somewhat dense to get into but once I was there it was marvellous.
Recommended but only if you are willing to make an effort.
The Adolescent (or The Raw Youth) - Fyodor Dostoevsky - 1875
I love classics. Besides English classic authors like Jane Austen and George Eliot I probably like the Russians best. After reading (and loving) Anna Karenina, a Russian friend recommended this one. And I was not disappointed. The description of the simple life in Russia about 150 years ago is very interesting. Also, you can imagine how the revolution started and why some things in history happened the way it did.
If you like Russian classics, read it.
I started a thread on this in January, it was lost.