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The Best Short Stories

4.25  ·  Rating Details ·  2,787 Ratings  ·  109 Reviews
This collection, unique to the Modern Library, gathers seven of Dostoevsky's key works and shows him to be equally adept at the short story as with the novel. Exploring many of the same themes as in his longer works, these small masterpieces move from the tender and romantic White Nights, an archetypal nineteenth-century morality tale of pathos and loss, to the famous Note ...more
Paperback, 320 pages
Published February 13th 2001 by Modern Library
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Aug 26, 2012 Lainie rated it liked it
I finally picked up Crime and Punishment and read the lengthy introduction. By the end of it, I decided to first read Notes from the Underground to get a sense of Dostoevsky's early versus later writings. In this edition, you get (published in chronological order except for The Peasant Marey):

White Nights
The Honest Thief
The Christmas Tree and a Wedding
The Peasant Marey
Notes from the Underground, which is really more of a novella than a short story
A Gentle Creature
The Dream of a Ri
Apr 18, 2009 TY rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
White Nights: 4/5
This was written before his prison term. It's a love story. Enjoyable but nothing special.

The Honest Thief: 3/5
It was good but nothing great either. Sometimes a little draggy.

The Christmas Tree and the Wedding: 4/5
I quite like this one. It is kind of a social satire.

The Peasant Marey: 3/5
I don't quite understand this one. Or maybe there isn't much to understand about.

Notes From the Underground: 5/5
This is one of his most famous works. It is brilliant though I think I need to re-
The Failed Relationship in A Gentle Creature by Fyodor Dostoesvky
Much like Notes From Underground, Fyodor Dostoevsky’s A Gentle Creature stands out as a disturbing and forthright portrait of a contemporary man battered and warped by his time. Its narrator embarks on the same quest for self-justification, and his attempt is just as unconvincing. A Gentle Creature, however, is as deeply a meditation on a failed relationship as it is a reflection on one failed man. This is not as obvious, because
Feb 17, 2013 Lauren rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I had been looking forward to having a chance to read some of Dostoyevsky's short stories, as I am more familiar with his novels. So I am pleased to say that I was not disappointed, and that I immensely enjoyed this collection! First of all, from an organizational perspective, I appreciated the editor's choice to arrange the stories in chronological order. In this way, one can note Dostoyevsky's progress as a writer throughout his life. I find it fascinating to see which themes changed, and whic ...more
As soon as I finished Tsypkin's Summer in Baden-Baden, I felt the irresistible urge to (re-)read Dostoevsky. Then I remembered that I bought this edition of his stories, solely because it included a couple that were not part of the Pevear & Volokhonsky edition that I previous read, and decided to dive right in. I have reviewed the stories individually, so I will not discuss them here again. One point of criticism, however: this edition is called The Best Short Stories of and includes Notes f ...more
Nov 01, 2012 Jonathon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Man, I hate this type of old style language. I mean the poetic parts are tolerable, but the shit of everyday old style conversation language annoys me... For example words like, "indutiably" and shit like "I shan't say another word"; usually its located somewhere in the dialogue...They need to make an updated hip hop version with awesome theres an idea!

This stuff is hard to quote also, cause Dostoevsky doesn't write in easily, digestible quotes; but his points and ideas go on for pa
I'm not very good at reading short stories because I end up thinking almost everything should be a novel so I could delve into everything to my heart's content. :)

White Nights
This is a sweet story with a good ending. However, while reading I felt Dostoyevsky went off on too many tangents. I'm not sure how the main character grew in this story, unless it was that he opened up to someone and made the friend. (view spoiler)
Cheyn Shah
Oct 27, 2016 Cheyn Shah rated it really liked it
Highlights are "Dream of a Ridiculous Man" and "Notes From Underground."

"Gentle Creature" is marred by a timid translation. Here is a literal translation of the one of the best moments, when the pawnbroker eavesdrops on his young wife:

"What happened was this. I listened for a whole hour and for that whole hour I witnessed a duel between a woman of the most exalted nobility and a worldly, dim-witted creature with the soul of a reptile."

This end-of-sentence zinger--"soul of a reptile"--injects a p
Jul 22, 2010 Mike rated it it was amazing
Here are my reviews:

I loved this book - it contains 7 short works including White Nights and the Dream of a Ridiculous Man, two of the best stories I've read. The opening lines are great. Notes from Underground starts off with "I am a sick man, a spiteful man. I believe something is wrong with my liver." Underground is the longest piece in the book, and the first half is a manic jumble, but the second half is a pretty good narrative. Like a lot of his books, these stories have shy, flawed charac
Nov 19, 2013 Shu rated it it was amazing
Pure pleasure, and great value. A must read, Dostoyevsky fan or not. Short stories are a great way to introduce yourself to his world, and enough for you to want more. I've certainly worn down my book front to back.

7 Short stories, all splendid.

White Nights:
The Honest Thief:
The Christmas Tree and Wedding:
The Peasant Marey:
Notes from the Underground:
A Gentle Creature:
The Dream of a Ridiculous Man:

One of the most interesting things about classical literature is in the extremes: Devastating p
Yara Mohamed
Aug 29, 2016 Yara Mohamed rated it it was amazing
Masterpieces. I did not plan to go on after reading White Nights and An Honest Thief, but I could not resist the temptation. Deeply moving; put me in a frenzy.

I am glad Notes from the Underground is included, although it is a novella and not a short story.
Jul 27, 2016 Michael rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian-lit
enjoyable set of stories.
Jun 03, 2014 jim rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to jim by: no one
It is frustrating that a volume containing all of Dostoevsky’s short stories does not appear to exist in English… nor does it seem that all of them are even available in hardcover across multiple collections. Be that as it may this was a nice collection of a handful of stories from very early in his career mixed in with the final few short stories he put to paper. My reading of Dostoevsky has been all over the place chronologically speaking, so I appreciated that these stories were laid out in t ...more
Apr 05, 2016 Vishal rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
There’s nothing like a bit Dostoyevsky if you feel all this optimism and cheer in life is a bit overrated, and you want to dispel it like a huge rain cloud over a beautiful summer’s day. However, few can say that his writing doesn’t resonate with you, doesn’t bare the reality of the inner barren soul. Everything looks beautiful - but is not always its true manifestation - in the sunshine.

Practically each story in this collection is a masterpiece in itself. It opens with White Nights, a love stor
GS. Subbu
May 29, 2015 GS. Subbu rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

In the introduction to his translation of ‘The Best Short Stories of Fyodor Dostoevsky’ David Magarshack observes that it is in Dostoevsky’s smaller works that we find the highest expression of his creative power and profundity of thought. The selection of stories in this book include –

White Nights
The Honest Thief
The Christmas Tree and a Wedding
The Peasant Marey
Notes from the Underground
A Gentle Creature
The Dream of A Ridiculous Man.
Feb 16, 2017 Becky rated it liked it
First sentence: It was a lovely night, one of those nights, dear reader, which can only happen when you are young.

Premise/plot: This is a collection of seven stories: White Nights, The Honest Thief, The Christmas Tree and a Wedding, The Peasant Marey, Notes From the Underground, A Gentle Creature, and the Dream of a Ridiculous Man. The longest story was Notes From the Underground. The shortest was the Peasant Marey.

My thoughts: White Nights was the first story in the collection and perhaps my f
Feb 28, 2011 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
well i knew this book would be great from the get go as few names are as revered and mentioned in world literature as that of Fyodor Dostoevsky. well this book makes a very bold statement by being named "The Best Short Stories of Fyodor Dostoevsky" now i must admit i havent read much of his work but have heard great things of both his novels and short stories but after having read this,bear in mind i say this with the limited knowledge of his short stories, it is exactly what it claims to be. i ...more
Feb 23, 2017 Sandra rated it really liked it
This was such a pleasure to read, this is a collection of short stories that include Dostoevsky early work ( pre-Siberia) and than includes one of his famous novellas; Notes from the Underground. What I find interesting about Dostoevsky's work is that he creates singular characters that go against social norms but are completely effected by the 19th century social structure they try to defy. Alas they monologue, justify, get offended and make bad decisions to maintain their sense of self. The li ...more
Jeanette Jenkins
I'm not an expert but found some of the short stories difficult to persevere with. The most enjoyable, profound and poignant short story for me in this book was "THE PEASANT MAREY' and is only 7 pages in length. It is about a serf (or slave) who belonged to Dostoevsky's father(they called him Marey) and was ploughing out in the field with his old mare. Dostoevsky was just a child and had been enjoying nature in the fields when he says "Suddently amid the dead silence I heard clearly and distinct ...more
Fred Dameron
Feb 22, 2017 Fred Dameron rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
Excellent well edited and translated collection. Since this was a reread for Notes and the other stories got me thinking. White Nights, Christmas Tree and a Wedding, Notes and A Gentle Creature all have women characters who interact in mid 1800's norms. Many of these norms have NOT changed in 151 years. Women are still married to people of position to improve the bank accounts of those position holders. Women who are forced by circumstance or lied to into prostitution still live around three yea ...more
F. J. McGill
Feb 22, 2017 F. J. McGill rated it really liked it
Notes from Underground (or Notes from the Underground, as it is called in this collection) hit far too close for comfort. I felt violated reading it. The protagonist, if you can even call him that, was so vile, cynical and self-loathing, so akin to me in how he thought and treated others, I felt as if Dostoevsky was holding a mirror up to me and laughing. Particular scenes where legitimately hard to read on a purely emotional level, but I could never put it down. Remains one of the few life chan ...more
Apr 15, 2011 Kirk rated it really liked it
“Notes from the Underground”

Oh, if only I had done nothing merely out of laziness! Lord, how I should have respected myself then. I should have respected myself just because I should at least have been able to be lazy; I should at least have possessed one quality which might be mistaken for a positive one and in which I could have believed myself. Question—who is he? Answer—a loafer. I must say it would have been a real pleasure to have heard that said about myself, for it would have meant tha
Jun 05, 2014 Erin rated it it was amazing
Hah, random side story. I brought this collection on my honeymoon, which my husband found wildly amusing. Heavy fare, right? And then I saw what he packed - a book about Chinese grammar. Are we perfectly matched nerds or what? Anyways, I didn't finish it before classes started again, and for some reason, I didn't pick it back up until now.

The first four stories are interesting to Dostoyevsky fans that want to watch his development as an author. I don't think they would have been very memorable w
Jun 06, 2009 Martin rated it liked it
I only read 4 of the short stories here. Half the book is taken up by "Notes from the Underground" which was one of my favorite novellas in college, and I even made a mixtape adaptation starring Notorious B.I.G., Lil Kim, Curtis Mayfield, and Nancy Sinatra. So I'm not reviewing that story, since it's been a while. I read a pre-prison story, "White Nights", which was awful. Treacly and fatalistic at the same time, it was recently adapted into a huge Bollywood movie "Sawariyaa". I didn't like the ...more
Sep 20, 2015 Dhaval rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was the first book by Dostoevsky that I read. He definitely has a different style. He focuses a lot on what goes inside each character's mind.

Here is my rating per story

White Nights: 5/5
Beautiful! Wonderful romance and very simple story. My rating for this might be biased because of one of my favorite Bollywood movies Saawariya, which is adaptation of this story.

The Honest Thief: 4/5

The Christmas Tree and the Wedding: 4/5

The Peasant Marey: 3/5

Notes From the Underground: 2.5/5
Contrary to
Matthew Rothschild
White Nights: a dreamer and his would-be lover meet on the street and proceed to be undeniably sentimental and tragic.

The Honest Thief: the respectable gentleman tells a story of his attachment to an alcoholic bum.

The Christmas Tree and Wedding: a spectator sees a wealthy and ambitious gentleman plot to become significantly wealthier by taking a much younger bride.

The Peasant Marey: autobiographical story about a saint-like peasant who cared about Dostoyevsky without particular reason.

Notes fr
Dec 10, 2007 Cathy rated it really liked it
I picked this up purely to read "White Nights." I had recently seen "Saawariya," a Bollywood film inspired by the story, which was pretty but lifeless. The story is just as dreamy as the movie, but what the movie lacked was the story's strong focus on what makes the main character a dreamer, and what it costs him to live so much in his own head. What the story lacks that the movie has is ... lots of very pretty musical numbers. I guess it's no surprise that Dostoevsky creams Sanjay Leela Bhansal ...more
Erik Graff
Feb 12, 2011 Erik Graff rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Dostoevsky fans
Recommended to Erik by: Janny Marie Willis
Shelves: literature
My first really serious relationship was with a woman who had read pretty much all of Dostoevsky--and Tolstoy and lots of other impressive writers. We had met during my last year at Grinnell College in Iowa. It could have ended there as I was back in Illinois working that subsequent summer, but we corresponded, she came to stay at my home there and, eventually, a semester later, she transferred from Grinnell to Barnard College, moving into my dorm room at Union Theological Seminary in Manhattan. ...more
Mona M
Jan 16, 2016 Mona M rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Fyodor Dostoevsky's unique ability to portray the human mind never fails to amaze me.
As with other short story collections, I enjoyed some of the stories better than others; but each was an extraordinary, insightful read.
Dostoevsky's intensely accurate depiction of intellect, both its good and evil facets, as well as his deep portrayal of man's emotions, constantly appear in his written work and leave an everlasting impression upon the reader.
I found "White Nights" the most heart-wrenching
Oct 17, 2015 Kerry rated it liked it
When I went to college I was a sociology minor and for some reason I felt reading really old dead philosophers made me smarter in some way. I read the longer novels of Dostoyevsky and at the time it seemed his long ramblings lead to a greater understand of human behavior. These short stories did not follow that formula. Most were repetitive in dialogue, without telling an actual story. most of these were painful but White Nights, The Christmas Tree and A Wedding, and a Gentle Creature were the o ...more
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  • Great Short Works
  • First Love and Other Stories
  • Fyodor Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment (Monarch Notes)
  • Five Great Short Stories
  • Plays and Petersburg Tales
  • Russian Short Stories from Pushkin to Buida
  • Today I Wrote Nothing: The Selected Writings
  • White Walls: Collected Stories
  • The Portable Twentieth-Century Russian Reader
  • Soul
  • Dostoevsky: A Writer in His Time
  • Red Cavalry and Other Stories
  • The Collected Short Stories of Maxim Gorky
  • The Collected Stories
  • Tolstoy or Dostoevsky: An Essay in the Old Criticism
  • The Queue
Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky (Russian: Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, journalist, and short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the human soul had a profound influence on the 20th century novel.

Dostoyevsky was the second son of a former army doctor. He was educated at home and at a private school. Shortly after the death
More about Fyodor Dostoyevsky...

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