Wednesday 12 January 2022

Book Review: A Bad Business by Dostoevsky (Short Stories / Classics)

Title: A Bad Business
Author: Dostoevsky
Publisher: Pushkin Press
Publication Date: 2022
Format: eBook - PDF
Genre: Short Stories / Classics
Source: ARC via NetGalley

This vivid collection of new translations by Nicolas Pasternak Slater and Maya Slater illuminates Dostoevsky’s dazzling versatility as a writer.

His remarkable short fiction swings from wickedly sharp humour to gripping psychological intensity, from cynical social mockery to moments of unexpected tenderness.

The stories in this collection range from impossible fantasy to scorching satire.

A civil servant finds a new passion for his work when he’s swallowed alive by a crocodile.

A struggling writer stumbles on a cemetery where the dead still talk to each other.

An arrogant but well-intentioned gentleman provokes an uproar at an aide’s wedding, and in the marital bed.

A young boy finds unexpected salvation on a cold and desolate Christmas Eve.


A Bad Business was a delightful and fascinating short story collection, not least because it showcased a different side to Dostoevsky than we see in his novels. There is still some psychological introspection here, but there is also humour and wit. 'The Crocodile' in particular kept me smiling from start to finish, and that was one of my favourite tales, along with 'The Meek One' and 'A Bad Business'. If you are already a fan of Dostoevsky, you will want to check out this collection. If you've wanted to read Dostoevsky but have worried the novels will be too heavy going, these short stories may offer a good place to start. The book gets five stars from me.

I received this book as a free eBook ARC via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

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