Fyodor Dostoevsky’s penultimate serial plays like a super-concentrated version of his most famous works from the 1860s and '70s. The story follows a man perhaps even more brooding, deranged, and paranoid than Dostoevsky’s most famous anti-heroes, a man who’s very thoughts are so numerous and twisted that they seem to nullify him, rendering his life meaningless. On his way to kill himself, the ridiculous man is struck by a chance encounter with a young girl, which in turn prompts a life-altering vision of paradise. Performer Walter Zimmerman’s fluid, deliberate style brings clarity and tempo to the labyrinthine psychoanalytics for which Dostoevsky is famous. Through his tortuously absurd protagonist, the author’s telltale meditations on utopia, nihilism, and spirituality are all expounded to satirically outrageous conclusions.
The Dream of a Ridiculous Man is one of his best short pieces. No less a writer than Virginia Woolf says of Dostoevsky, "Out of Shakespeare there is no more exciting reading."
(P)1987 Jimcin Recordings
I'm sorry to say I couldn't enjoy Walter Zimmerman's narration. I've found this same story in a small, inexpensive collection of Dostoyevsky short stories called "A Disgraceful Affair." Since it isn't obvoius which stories that collection contains (odd to me, since Dream of a Ridiculous Man is pretty famous and I'd think the collection would sell better if they'd put it up front), I thought I'd come here and recommend that one as an alternative.The narrators for that collection are Michael Page and Kirby Heyborne, and I'm not sure which reads Dream of a Ridiculous Man. The performance there is a bit more manic than the voice I "hear" when I read Dostoyevsky, but it's a worthy intepretation.Anyway, if you want to give a different narrator a shot at this great story, punch "A Disgraceful Affair" into the search engine. I don't know the other stories it contains except the very early one called "White Nights," which is also lovely.
Dostoevsky's gift as a story-teller is on display in "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man". Zimmerman is ideal for narrating FD.
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