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Trying doggedly to read "The Idiot"

(6 Posts)
MsAmerica Sat 08-Aug-15 21:05:22

I unearthed a copy of Dostoevsky's "The Idiot" and settled in. Unfortunately, I made the fatal mistake of setting it aside after about 200-250 pages, and when I picked it up again a few weeks later, I'd forgotten who almost everyone was. But aside from the fact that the complexity and flexibility of the names make it hard to follow (a character can be referred to by multiple variations of a name), I'm trying to like it, but just can't.

I'm halfway through, and getting so exasperated with all the histrionics, all the social feints, without much going on to keep it interesting. What am I missing? Is this a favorite book for any of you?

highlandcoo Sun 09-Aug-15 09:01:33

I think I may have struggled through The Idiot as a teenager many years ago, but I couldn't tell you anything about it now.

I did try to read The Brothers Karamazov for book group recently; I tried really hard and even wrote down all the different versions of characters' names and a family tree of their relationships but it was like wading through mud. I don't like giving up on a book but I packed that one in about a third of the way through .. I was dreading reading it so much.

hackmum Sun 09-Aug-15 11:10:48

The Idiot is one of the very few books I've been unable to finish. I abandoned it half way through a few years ago. It's funny, because Crime and Punishment is an absolutely cracking read.

EleanorRugby Mon 10-Aug-15 17:55:41

I had to read this as part of my degree and did manage to finish it and I think I remember quite enjoying but I agree that the myriad of names and diminutives for each character is confusing and distracting. I also had to read but couldn't finish The Brothers Karamazov which is bloody awful in my opinion. But I agree with hackmum that Crime and Punishment is brill, I've read it twice. The Devils (sometimes translated as Demons or The Possessed) is also OK but not a patch on Crime an Punishment.

gingercat12 Sat 15-Aug-15 13:56:23

You probably have to be in the mood. When I first got my kindle a few years ago I went through a Dostoevsky period. I just could not put them down. Idiot, Crime and Punishment, Brothers Karamazov...

Also do not forget that most of his life he struggled with money problems and had to write really fast to keep up with his creditors, so I think the quality of the writing changes sometimes.

MsAmerica Sat 15-Aug-15 19:57:38

Okay, thanks. I'm closing in on the last hundred pages. Another problem is not much plot, especially by 19th century standards. I was thinking I'd have to progress to BK and C&P, but maybe I can settle for the latter.

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