Wednesday, 22 December 2010

Dostoevsky, Fyodor "The Adolescent"


Dostoevsky, Fyodor "The Adolescent" (or: The Raw Youth - Russian: Подросток = Podrostok) - 1875

I love classics. Besides English classic authors like Jane Austen and George Eliot I probably like the Russians best. After reading (and loving) Anna Karenina, this book was recommended to our book club by one of our members who knows a lot about Russian literature. And I was not disappointed. The description of the simple life in Russia about 150 years ago is very interesting. Also, you can imagine how the revolution started and why some things in history happened the way it did.

The story portrays the life of 19 year old Arkady Dolgoryky, the conflicts he has with his father, a landowner, the difference between the "old" ways and the views of the young Russians of the time. As a lot of young people, Arkady rebels against what society expects of him.

Even though this book is more than a century old, it still holds a lot of truth. Some things always have been a certain way and will never change, even though the environment and the circumstances kids grow up in change.

I really liked this book, it gave me a lot to think about. If you like Russian classics, read it.

We discussed this in our book club in December 2005.

From the back cover: "The narrator and protagonist of Dostoevsky’s novel The Adolescent (first published in English as A Raw Youth) is Arkady Dolgoruky, a naïve 19-year-old boy bursting with ambition and opinions. The illegitimate son of a dissipated landowner, he is torn between his desire to expose his father’s wrongdoing and the desire to win his love. He travels to St. Petersburg to confront the father he barely knows, inspired by an inchoate dream of communion and armed with a mysterious document that he believes gives him power over others. This new English version by the most acclaimed of Dostoevsky’s translators is a masterpiece of pathos and high comedy."

I also since read "The Gambler" and "Crime and Punishment".

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