Tuesday, February 16, 2010

 I had a long weekend and read the first half of The Idiot.  It had taken a couple tries to get through the first few chapters, but with some quiet time I was able to finally get into the story.  Dostoevsky certainly had a theatrical sense in his choice of characters and confrontations he sets up.  The first part all takes place in the course of one day and one can easily see this acted out on stage as "The Prince" makes his odd and very entertaining return to Petersburg.  His epilepsy is taken as idiocy but those around him soon learn of his remarkable ability to cut through situations as he endears himself to a Russian aristocratic family, the wife apparently being some distant relation.

If you haven't read the novel, I don't want to give too much away as Dostoevsky relies heavily on suspense to carry the action.  His nemesis proves to be Rogozhin, who he unwittingly falls into confrontation with over the lovely Nastasya Filippovna, who turns out to be even more eccentric in her behavior than Rogozhin.

I'm just about through Part II which focuses heavily on how the Prince comes to inherit a sizable fortune, soon finding himself being taking advantage of by a rather odd group of Nihilists who break up an enjoyable afternoon tea he was having with the Epanchins at a dacha outside Petersburg.  Dostoevsky loves setting up complex confrontations and this one goes on a bit too long for my taste, but a lot is found out about the characters one and all.

Curious to get some feedback.  Will post more as I read.

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