The Idiot

How does one review a piece of classic Russian literature without looking like, well, an idiot?  Doubtful that I can avoid that, I’ll first say that I didn’t really enjoy The Idiot as much as I enjoyed Crime and Punishment. If I were to recommend a Dostoevsky book, it would be Crime and Punishment instead of The Idiot.  It took me quite a while to make it through this book, while putting it down for another book on multiple occasions.  At least I can cross this classic off my list.

I did enjoy the fact that Dostoevsky was very critical of society in St. Petersburg from the eyes of the naive and unworldy Prince Myshkin, who returned to the city after spending years abroad for treating epilepsy .  Dostoevsky seemed very critical of the gossipy and rumor-filled days of the high class of the city.  Other than that, I found a lot of the story boring and hard to follow.  I had a hard time understanding the motives of the various characters in the novel, because after the prince arrives in town, the book quickly turns into a soap opera.

In my opinion, if you want to read a good book from Dostoevsky, try Crime and Punishment instead.  I was disappointment in my first Wayfarer book of the year.  I realize I’ve gotten started pretty late, but I still plan to finish all four books I set out to read for 2015.  I’ve already started on two others, Return of the Native and Things Fall Apart, and I’m sure I’ll enjoy those more.





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We're Tab and Cam-just a goofy, geeky couple exploring each other's interests from comic books, board games, video games, TV and movies. Join us in misadventures of learning to accept one's obsession with Magic the Gathering and the other's admiration for Steampunk décor.

14 thoughts on “The Idiot”

  1. I didn’t find the Idiot all that great either. Try The Brothers Karamazov, I seem to recall having enjoyed that. After a few years, of course, when you’ve recovered from this effort. Dostoyevsky’s heavy reading in so many ways 😀

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    1. I really really tried to like it, too. I think I’ll give The Brothers Karamazov a try. Yes, he has written heavy reading. I enjoy learning more about him and his views even if this one wasn’t a hit with me.


      1. Have you read Michener’s South Pacific? Life of Pi. Love his style. Island of Bali by Miguel Covarrubias. And ISLANDS: a treasury of contemporary travel writing (various authors, Capra Press). And of course, Eat Pray Love. Have you read Laarson’s Girl with the Dragon Tattoo series?

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      2. I’m going to start The Girl in the Spiders Web, and a big fan of the first 3. I’ve also read Life of Pi and Eat Pray Love. As always, in my opinion, the books are better than the films.
        I’m trying to read more from different parts of the world, since we’re a bit too tied up at the moment for international travel.


      3. I hadn’t heard of the Girl in the Spiders WEb. I guess it’s a good thing not to let characters like that die, just because the author did!! Let me know if it works. I loved Laarson’s style. Never read any book faster than his. Haven’t seen the movies.

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      4. I got a free copy at the book store I work at. Not sure what to think of it yet. He did write a 4th book before he died, a rough draft, but I don’t think this is it. Well see:)


      5. free when I can manage. The free ones we can take home get picked through usually before I get to work, and unfortunately it will only last a through the holidays, then it’s back to just the one job without those nice benefits. I haven’t heard of Richard Hugo. Recommending another book?

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