The Idiot

Narrated by: Constantine Gregory
Length: 24 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (375 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Prince Lyov Nikolayevitch Myshkin is one of the great characters in Russian literature. Is he a saint or just naïve? Is he an idealist or, as many in General Epanchin's society feel, an "idiot"? Certainly his return to St. Petersburg after years in a Swiss clinic has a dramatic effect on the beautiful Aglaia, youngest of the Epanchin daughters, and on the charismatic but willful Nastasya Filippovna. As he paints a vivid picture of Russian society, Dostoyevsky shows how principles conflict with emotions - with tragic results.

Public Domain (P)2017 Naxos AudioBooks

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    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Moments of surprise.

Reading Dostoyevsky is like hiking up a vast mountain. Much of the path appears to be like the past couple of steps - and like the next couple of steps. Every now and then, you come upon a lookout point in a moment of amazement and awe - and then return to hiking. Throughout the story, there are masterful moments of descriptions, dialogues or monologues that have such remarkable significance that they are likely to stay with the readers for the rest of their lives. And then, as is also often the case with Dostoyevsky - there is the summit - completely unexpected, surprising and in some instances shocking to the bone yet no less amazing. Dostoyevsky is a hike up a mountain - not a hike in the park. Not easy to read but with no ordinary reward.

As for Constantine Gregory - BRAVO! I doubt if there is a single other narrator that could quite master Dostoyevsky as he as come to do quite comfortably. The ever so slight changes in intonation to distinguish the (many and sometimes confusing) characters, and his grasp of the cultural and linguistic peculiarities is masterful.

The Idiot is not the most rewarding of the great Dostoyevsky works - but is in every way extremely satisfying and ultimately rewarding. I always feel like I have been rewarded with some form of insight or prize after having completed a Dostoyevsky book - and the Idiot is no different.

28 people found this helpful

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Narrator Gregory is up to the task.

Dostoyevsky’s words matter. There are no car chases or sex scenes. His stories are a psychological and philosophical examination of life, which can be ruined by a reader who doesn’t “get it”. I purchased 2 versions

15 people found this helpful

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The Idiot

This was translated very well. The narrator was superb. The characters are very interesting. And it is my 2nd favorite Dostoyevsky.

9 people found this helpful

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Not his best, but it is still Dostoevsky.

I enjoyed the ending. The rest of the book is filled with the deep character building Dostoevsky is been known for. A little too much, because at some point you are thinking "why am I finishing this?" I almost didn't a few times. Constantine Gregory does a decent job at trying to let you know who's talking, by attempting to changing his voice. He does what he can with the numerous characters Dostoevsky has created in this book.

Should you read this book? Only if you like his other works. It is a big commitment. It's not Notes From The Underground and it's not The Brothers Karamazov. It is just Dostoevsky having random conversation about everything and nothing at the same time. I am not even sure he properly explained what the prince was inflicted with that made him seem like an "Idiot". He talks about his "fits" and very unlike him, he doesn't explain it in detail. Maybe he did, but I listened as best I could and maybe I missed it. I usually enjoy the conversation he creates between the characters, that was not the case for me in this book. That doesn't mean it's not worth reading. If you enjoy him , you may enjoy this book.

This occurred to me just now writing this. Maybe Myschkin is represented as being "naive" about the world he lives in. Maybe that's the whole thing right there, being "naive" may cost you everything you love. Okay now it seems like a good book. I would still get rid of 300 pages. This book is a 3-4-star by any other author, but it is Dostoevsky. Like I said earlier if you enjoy his other books you may enjoy this one.

3 people found this helpful

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Marathon

For English only speakers like myself, this book will be hard to follow at some points. That can be made easier if the listener either marathons sections of this book or regularly comes back to it. The character of the prince is delightful and human and it is his character that push

2 people found this helpful

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excellent reading. this is also a very good value.

this is one of my favorite books. the Easter was clear, engaging, really perfect. excellent book to read for Disability studies in literature.

2 people found this helpful

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Strong Novel. Worth your time

The story is strong if occassionally tedius. However, the performance is wonderful. Take your time with it, though, as it is very dense (mostly in a good way).

Nastasya F. is a wonderful character to dissect and discuss, however the novel could use more of her.

1 person found this helpful

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incredible

very appropriate reader with an impressive
varied skillset of impersonations. his fluidity in reading is excellent too.
the novel is top notch too

1 person found this helpful

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deep book

I will be thinking about this one for a while. not a simple book by no means

1 person found this helpful

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Perplexing, but thought provoking

I can't say that I loved every minute of it, but after a few months I still think of some of the chapters. it is definitely an interesting novel.

3 people found this helpful

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  • MR J.
  • 02-17-17

Good but not his best

Having heard this, "Crime and Punishment" and "The Brothers Karamazov" I'd say this was the least satisfying in terms of philo/theo logical content and less enjoyable in terms of depth of characters involved.
Constantine Gregory (the narrator) is, as always, great, although the quality of this particular recording was poor - reverby and glitchy.

75 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-18-18

easier to listen to than I expected<br /><br />

narration was excellent and made the Russian names easier to deal with than I expected in my first Russian literature audiobook. Got a little tedious in the middle but mostly enjoyable and was definitely worth sticking with to the end. I see the same narrator has read some more Dostoyevsky audiobooks so after a break I'll be back for more.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Ms T
  • 12-10-18

So-so

The first quarter of this book was enjoyable as was the last quarter, but the half in the middle was lots of long and drawn out conversations, deliberations and musings. I found it difficult to stay focused and struggled through the lengthy rhetoric. I’ve read that this book closely mirrors Dostoevsky’s own thoughts and beliefs which is plain to see. I can’t fault the narration which was strong and precise.

3 people found this helpful

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  • Aaron Farnes
  • 08-31-19

Bad reverberation and echo from the Narrators mic

Got less than 5 minutes in before I could no longer tolerate the poor audio quality.

2 people found this helpful

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  • luke
  • 06-12-19

Meh.

I listen, work and have dyslexia so struggle with names. Russian names where tough and the voice acting though good a lot of the characters sound similar making it hard to follow.

The story also doesn't help, there's some great moments, but on the whole long and dull, which is what the books about. Normal people living kinda normal lives.

Amazing glimpse into a different time but will take a certain type to enjoy this book for it's entirety although there's snippets of gold to the end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-28-18

excellent performance!

The performance of this great book is excellent, I definitely recommend it. Looking forward to listening to other books of the same performer

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-05-20

Not All Bad

Firstly, I think this book was meant to be a play and not a novel. the action and events are so cramped. it feels like everything is taking place at once.
secondly, I was annoyed by some of the pointless dribble that some characters are afforded the luxury to utter. the story seems like it is going to be good; but, it keeps getting sidetracked with unattractive, long-winded, and drawn out conversations.
it's something to read, though I'm not sure it's worth it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 06-06-19

Perfect choice for a first audio book.

As always Dostoievski is a pleasure. And listening to a such a good interpretation made it more appealing to rather listen it then read it. It feels less weird when you get in to a fight with some other voice then yours.
OK. Next please.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 08-15-18

Bit hard to follow

The performance is good but the Russian names sometimes make the characters in the story hard to follow.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Janet Matthews
  • 05-04-18

long winded saga with tragic pitiful dull end

long winded saga with tragic pitiful dull end.
A dual instead of dull murder would have helped

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  • Linda reads
  • 02-04-20

Good story overall but not easy listening

I enjoyed the overall story here, but there is a lot of dialogue with long names that take a while to really get familiar with. I'm not used to reading this kind of literature so that might explain my difficulty. It's like Jane Austin on steroids with Russian names.