Title: The House of the Dead & The Gambler
Publication Date: 2010 (1867)
Source: Bought Copy
The House of the Dead
is a stark account of Dostoyevsky's own experience of penal servitude in
Siberia. In graphic detail he describes the suffering of the convicts -
their squalor and degradation, their terror and resignation, from the
rampages of a pyschopath to the brief serenity of Christmas Day. Amid
the horror of labour in the sub-zero work camp, we hear the stories of
the prisoners, and live through the freezing isolation and pain of day
after day of misery. We see a young intellectual forced to live, eat and
sleep with men from a background of cruelty, coarseness and brutality.
I am a huge Dostoevsky fan, and yet I found The House of the Dead a tad disappointing. It had its moments and was interesting, but I felt it lacked the depth of some of his other works, so I don't recommend it to anyone except die-hard fans. On the other hand, The Gambler was much more on form for him. It was a gripping tale with an interesting protagonist, and I was keen to see how things would work out for him as the story progressed. I am giving this 4 stars, but really it is 3.5 for The House of the Dead and 4.5 for The Gambler.