"the eternal husband and other stories" by fyodor mikhailovich dostoevsky

my tour through classic russian lit is off to a great start. this book is a collection of dostoevsky's short stories, focusing around the longest of them contained in this collection, "the eternal husband." i am altogether impressed by mr. dostoevsky's ability to write from within a character's head. "a nasty anecdote" left me a desperate feeling of sadness for both the protagonist and the antagonist in the story, sometimes finding hard to distinguish whom was whom, though ivan ilyich is cited by the author as the "hero." "the eternal husband" was a very interesting snapshot of a russian romance gone terribly wrong. "bobok" was kind of light and fluffy in its approach to a living man chatting with the dead, peeking into the world beneath the tombstones. "the meek one" was one of my favorites. the entire story consists of a husband trying desperately to recall the details of what could have possibly led to his wife's suicide, which is the event that christens the story. you hate the husband, you love the wife, you like the husband, you're confused by the wife, you empathize with the husband and wife. it's good. "the dream of a ridiculous man" takes you all the way back to a garden absent of sin and an unfortunate infiltrator who goes from contemplating suicide to ruining paradise, but gains insight into what makes the human soul stir before it devolves.

each and every story taps into a soulish detail, which without dostoevsky's words often remains elusive to capture with language. he puts into words that which many of us know, feel, and think, but can not articulate. i look forward to reading more of his work. i just received an e-mail from the ames public library, hereby to be known as "the apl," telling me my hold on "the brothers kamarazov" has come to fruition. i'll be picking that up on "library day" this saturday with paige! i expect nothing less than brilliance. i look forward to seeing how his characters develop over the course of a longer novel, especially now that i'm girded with the genius of his ability to do it within the context of a short story.

sometimes it feels less lonely to read thoughts which are those which you had never before been able to name. seeing them verifies your humanity in a way. your feelings and thoughts are not alien, even if you often feel like one.

dead russian authors!
woot! woot!


Anonymous said...

Oh yeah, well I just read a great book about the joys and struggles of a father and son dog in Spot Loves His Daddy by Eric Hill... ok, so it's a kid's book... but it really tugged on my heartstrings!

tivo vovo said...

i am looking forward to reading kids' books admittedly. they are fun. i love thinking about reflecting on this rich themes that are revealed in classic literature, but some of it is kinda dark, and while i usually am not too affected by it, sometimes i can be. so the light-heartedness of kids' books will be a welcome item on our menu.

besides, not having to look words up will make reading go much more quickly :)