Just two years after completing Crime and Punishment, which explored the mind of a murderer, Fyodor Dostoevsky produced another masterpiece: The Idiot. This time the author portrays a truly beautiful soul and one of Dostoevsky's greatest characters---Prince Muishkin, a saintly, Christ-like, yet deeply human figure. The story begins when Muishkin arrives on Russian soil after a stay in a Swiss sanatorium. Scorned by St. Petersburg society as an idiot for his generosity and innocence, the prince finds himself at the center of a struggle between a rich, kept woman and a beautiful, virtuous girl, who both hope to win his affection. Unfortunately, Muishkin's very goodness seems to bring disaster to everyone he meets. The shocking denouement tragically reveals how, in a world obsessed with money, power, and sexual conquest, a sanatorium is the only place for a saint. This version of The Idiot is the translation by Eva Martin.
Public Domain (P)2010 Tantor
Doetoevsky's writing is heavy on long conversational pieces which he uses to flesh out his characters' beliefs. This method of using long -pages long, in fact , half expository, half debate, quotations seems to be fairly common in novels from the nineteenth century and, if you like that style, then this book should please you. This type of writing can certainly be boring to a more action oriented person but, if you can look at these screeds as little windows into the characters and into Dostoevky's Russia, you will find many worthwhile gems in this book. The interplay between the characters is interesting from a psychological and a religious perspective. I found myself rooting for the Prince, for example, because he is such a sweet character, yet it is this same sweetness that causes him much needless trouble and pain. The similarities between Myshkin and Jesus are obvious and have been commented on by better analysts than myself. However, I believe that the theme of how a truly good person would fare in the "modern" world is an interesting question that the novel explores. Doestoevsky's answer and the climax of "The Idiot" is not the most personally satisfying one for me because I like the main character, but it is certainly logical and believable and gives the story depth and believability. It is certainly a commentary on what we say is good and right in others, verses what we act on, and believe, is good for ourselves
Also, the narrator is outstanding. I am looking for more of his work and will likely purchase at least one more book simply to listen to him voice the characters. I truly think he is one of the greatest readers I have ever heard.
This is the first review I have written. I have been a member since 2006 and this is the first book I just could not finish listening to. It was long and drawn out with no direction. I'm not even sure what the story is about, it seemed like just high tale gossip. It was much to boring for me.
"The Idiot - an American Version"
A strange, very American translation, but if you don't mind the characters being referred to as "in a funk" etc., you might enjoy this. From all the narrators I listened to, I'd say this is the best one, but, again, the strong American accent got in the way for me.
I listened to it straight after having listened to Constantine Gregory's rendition of The Brothers Karamazov - and neither the story nor the rendition hold up a candle to The Idiot, a bit disappointing, but still worthwhile.
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