Wednesday, 10 December 2014

Book Review: The Idiot by Dostoevsky

Title: The Idiot
Author: Dostoevsky
Publication Date: 1869
Pages: 506
Format: E-Book - EPUB
Genre: Fiction
Source: Gift
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The story begins when Myshkin arrives on Russian soil after a stay in a Swiss sanatorium. Scorned by St. Petersburg society as an idiot for his generosity and innocence, the prince finds himself at the center of a struggle between a rich, kept woman and a beautiful, virtuous girl, who both hope to win his affection. Unfortunately, Myshkin’s very goodness seems to bring disaster to everyone he meets. The shocking denouement tragically reveals how, in a world obsessed with money, power, and sexual conquest, a sanatorium is the only place for a saint. 

The Idiot is a wonderful story, featuring an endearing if hopeless hero and a vibrant cast of supporting characters. Characterisation is truly Dostoevsky's forte and he paints the people of this novel in extraordinary colours. I was caught up in the story from start to finish and was taken by surprise with the way it ended. I think Crime and Punishment is still my favourite, but The Idiot comes a close second.

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