Thursday, January 31, 2008

Gather 'round!

I love reading "modern" novels, but let's face it, they don't always make one think. Although I love Dostoyevsky (yes, there are about a dozen ways to spell that), and I have read all his major work, I haven't really delved into his minor work. This week, I took on some of the minor work, and once again, Dostoyevsky proves to be brilliant (and better than Tolstoy).

I started with The Gambler. The title should be self-explanatory. However, the novella is more than half over before you are completely confidant that you know exactly to whom the title refers. Every character is this story is a gambler, some, in the casino, all in life. The story itself leaves many questions: who are these people, what is their problem and why do they think money will solve it, and do people really act like that? Yes, yes, desparate people act like that. One of the best scenes in the book occurs when the invalid 75 year old aunt becomes addicted to the roulette wheel, betting her fortune on winning everything back. If you want to know how a gambler feels, this book is for you. Time slows down, senses are heightened and you feel completely high and in control and yet you know you aren't in control. It is an amazing and quick read.

Next up was the very short story Bobok. A journalist, who fears he is going crazy, keeps repeating the nonsense word, bobok. The surprising thing is not what this means, how he found out what it means, but rather, the fact that the meaning does not disturb him. A very short, but interesting story.

Finally, I read A Nasty Story. This story is very reminiscant of Gogol. A Russian general (not in the army, but in rank of the civil service: it's a long story) gets drunk, wanders through the streets of St. Petersburg and ends up inviting himself to the wedding of an insubordinate. He does this to prove how much he loves 'humanity'. At this time, Russia was very divided into classes, and those 'forward thinking' wanting to prove that they accepted everybody as equal, but only if shown the correct amount of respect. The general gets disgustingly drunk (he's not normally a drinker) and disgraces himself and ruins the wedding. This story, while amusing, is also an excellent social commentary that still applies today. I'm thinking of those rich people who very loudly voice their support of equality and then get mad when the poverty stricken don't praise them for their generosity (you know who I'm talking about). This story clearly reveals what asses these people really are.

Thus, Dostoyevsky is still my hero and I love him. Read anything by him today.

Tonight my husband returns home, for six whole hours, before he leaves again and returns on Saturday morning. What? you ask, I though he was supposed to be home all this week. Why yes, yes he was, but after seeing him for 9 whole days over the last month, I was so sick of him, that I sent him away again. Ok, really. The ship is here, but there was some stupid conference in Florida that my husband wasn't even supposed to go to, but they needed a competant and responsible guy to go. They chose my husband. Stupid competant and responsible husband. So I haven't seen him since Sunday (when he was really sick, he's better now, thank God). I will pick him up at the airport tonight at 11:00pm. He will go to work at 6:00am. I won't see him again until Saturday. The ship leaves again on Monday morning. If I end up having a baby, it will be a miracle.

1 comment:

David said...

Hmm...well, just finished the Memory Keeper's Daughter Edwards) ....starting the Handmaid's Tale (Atwood) I'll add these to the