Wednesday, April 22, 2015

141. The Idiot

The Idiot
Fyodor Dostoyevsky
1868-1869
Around 600 pages












In the Harry Potter books, the character Ron Weasley mentions a magical book that you can never stop reading, so you just have to go around trying to do everything with one hand.  This is how I felt about The Idiot.  I was incapable of doing anything else but reading this novel.  I managed to fit some vacuuming in, but that's about it.  Keep in mind this is a DOSTOYEVSKY novel, ladies and gentleman (that's singular because I don't think a man has ever commented on this site).

The Idiot, also known as Bitches Be Crazy, starts with a Russian prince arriving in St. Petersburg after being in Switzerland for years.  He is epileptic (finally an explanation for a nineteenth century illness) so most people assume he is an idiot.  He is also socially awkward, which doesn't help.  He is most quiet, except for when he rants about the evils of the Catholic Church.  Wait a second...is this my biography?

I'll revisit that later.  Anyway, he becomes captivated by the very beautiful Nastassya Filippovna.  In addition to being pretty insane, she is also involved with several other men.  He also bonds with the Yepanchin family, particularly the youngest daughter Aglaya.  Aglaya is also kind of an unpredictable nightmare.  So is her mother.  Did Dostoyevsky ever speak to a woman in his life?

Still, that didn't ruin it for me.  I absolutely loved the prince and felt personally insulted when someone was mean to him.  Even the most minor characters had interesting personalities.  The ending left me absolutely shocked.

An author hasn't redeemed himself so well since David Copperfield.

RATING: *****

Interesting Facts:

Akira Kurosawa adapted this into a film.  Yes, please.  I need this NOW.

UP NEXT: Maldoror by Comte de Lautreaumont.  What?

1 comment:

  1. I loved this book! I know what you mean about not being able to put it down. I kept wanting to know what would happen to all the characters, though a few got a little tiresome. There were some pretty crazy women, but some of the men were contenders for craziest personalities. I did not expect the ending. it worked, but i didn't expect it. Great book!

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