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1.0 out of 5 starsTHE EBOOK IS NOT THE PEVEAR TRANSLATION! This is ...
Reviewed in the United States on May 1, 2017
THE EBOOK IS NOT THE PEVEAR TRANSLATION! This is flagrant product misrepresentation by Amazon. They listed an e-book version of the PEVEAR translation and when I downloaded it and opened it on my device it is NOT the same translation as you can see in the peak inside of the printed version. You can find free online versions of this translation that Amazon is falsely selling as the PEVEAR translation in lots of places online. Amazon cheated!
Reviewed in the United States on November 17, 2017
As usual with Dostoevsky, the read is complex, even in this instance with the simplest of storylines - an old man ranting. The complexity comes from Dostoevsky's amazing ability to articulate the waves of thought behind human emotion - the flood and ebb of reasoning, the articulation of the irrational. But complexity extends well beyond style. Dostoevsky counters and buttresses contemporaneous philosophical thought using the rantings of his protagonist, "the underground man", the narrator. For those not familiar with Søren Kierkegaard and Nikolay Chernyshevsky (and here I admit my own ignorance) even a quick read of the short, but well done Wikipedia article on this title will be a very useful primer. Interestingly, the reviewer mentions that 'underground' is a flawed translation of the Russian and that 'crawl space' (my alternative) or something like it, might be more apt, implying; underneath the structure and within the loathsomeness of darkness, rats, snakes, spiders, and evil spirits.
Part I "underground" overwhelms, tediously with rant, still, the reader comes away with a sense of the underground man's misery, frustration, and disgust at life. It is a pure rant with minimal structure. In part II "Apropos the wet snow" we are taken on a - years earlier - 'social encounter' of the underground man. It does not go well - in fact, the reader will now feel, compellingly, albeit without sympathy, the narrator's hatefulness.
Dostoevsky's novels so overwhelm with depth and seriousness that other authors on the list of '100 greatest books' (which I am reading through) can seem well behind. In order NOT to be that reviewer who ‘gushes’ 5-stars at everything picked-up - and because this isn’t my favorite Dostoyevski novel I’ll give it 4-stars (but if my arm were twisted - even a little - 5! ;-).
(translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, Publisher: Aegitas April 20, 2017)
The first part of the book is phenomenal and timeless. It speaks about how resentment is a part of human nature or maybe how humans will never be satisfied, that it is perhaps ontologically necessary that we cannot experience satiety or fulfillment. I’m not quite sure how to word it, but if you read it for yourself that would be cool, and then you could tell me what it is that I read.
I thought the first part was an absolutely brilliant nsight into human nature
The second part is about an angry Russian guy being an angry (and especially miserable) Russian guy. It feels uniquely Russian. I found the second part hard to relate to—probably because I’m not a Russian from the 19th century. But the texture was vivid: I could feel like the spite and the cold wind. Dostoevsky does an amazing job of carefully invoking a vivid image (of something Russian.)
What a crock of crap. Holy moly. And I mean... I love classic literature, okay. I can get down on some Thomas Wolfe, Kerouac, Virginia Woolf, Leo Tolstoy any day of the week. I read the classic literature to relax and cure insomnia - I've found treasures in history. But THIS book is some serious BS. If I want to stoke my inner misanthrope, baby, I'll stick with my Hunter S. Thompson. At least I can understand WTF Hunter is talking about. First couple chapters.... just on and on and on about how he couldn't even be an insect or whatever and you're just like, "wtf? shut up and get to the point, dead author"
5.0 out of 5 starsUnique, Complex - Dostoyevsky Is A Genius
Reviewed in the United States on October 15, 2015
Fyodor Dostoyevsky is an incredible author. He seems incredibly complex and, to me, far ahead of this time. As a retired police detective, I feel "Crime And Punishment" is one of the most sophisticated crime novels that I have ever read from any era.
This book is another incredible work. The narrator is an unnamed "unreliable" male. He seems to be a demented misanthrope. The novel essentially consists of his semi cogent rantings.
I have read this work twice. The second time I read this unique work, I read and listened to the work simultaneously on Audiobook. This definitely added to my enjoyment. There were times I actually burst out laughing.
To say that I actually comprehend this work would be an exaggeration. However I thoroughly enjoyed it, especially with Audiobook and I will probably read it a third time, although it will be in the distant future. In the event one wishes to read a modern novel with an unreliable narrator, one might consider "The Dinner" by Herman Koch. One might find these two works Interesting for the purposes of comparing and contrasting. Thank You...
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on September 11, 2017
I never thought a few years ago that I'd be reviewing a book by Dostoevsky and saying it was a cracking good read. But there you go - in the hands of very good translators that's what you have here. I think translators are the unsung heroes of our times. It's said that it is the first existential novel - I had to look that up - and it seems that I have read nearly all on the list without really knowing what it means - it appears that I like a really good rant. I have another one to add to the list - Knut Hansum's "Hunger." Now that's a rant and a half.
5.0 out of 5 starsAn extraordinary and powerful read
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on June 3, 2016
A really riveting read - disturbing, insightful, honest and humorous.
The first work of Dostoyevsky I've read. It's a first-person narrative of a short period of the life of a very bitter man. His resentment and bile bubble up continuously and, even though he knows he's ruining his life, he wallows in the self-righteous comfort of this bitter stew. There are moments of painful humanity as he acknowledges the damage that he's only doing to himself, rather than those he bears pointless grudges against. There's a lesson here for everyone. I was hugely impressed within the first few pages, and continued to be gripped to the very bitter end.
I can't believe someone was writing such deeply honest and insightful work in the 1860s. Dostoyevsky was far ahead of his time, and I'll be reading more of his work.
1.0 out of 5 starsVery poor translation (Will Jonson ed version - green cover with painting)
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on April 17, 2020
I found this book unreadable, I thought that was maybe the style. It took me a while to work out why: this is a very poor / old translation. Example from page 3 off this book: "Of course, I can't explain who it is precisely that I am mortifying in this case by my spite: I am perfectly aware that I cannot "pay out" the doctors by not consulting them..." Hard to work out right? Regular translation: Naturally, I will not be able to explain to you precisely whom I will injure in this instance by my spite. I know perfectly well that I am certainly not giving the doctors a "dirty deal" by not seeking treatment." Makes sense.
5.0 out of 5 starsMalevolence inhabits us all: to think we are a good person is to not have looked into the pit of ones soul.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on May 12, 2017
Dostoyevsky captures what it is to be human creating multiple protagonist that then fight out their point of view as if Dostoyevsky has multiple views himself and allowed his characters to work out what was what in life.
Reviewed in the United Kingdom on November 24, 2017
My other half found out about the book from a band he listens to regularly, this is there album name with reference to this specific book. He is a avid book lover and said he could not tell it was second hand at all and seemed totally brand new.