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Poor Folk and Other Stories

3.77  ·  Rating Details ·  332 Ratings  ·  26 Reviews
Poor Folk was Dostoyevsky's first great triumph in fiction and the work that looks forward to the double-acts and obsessions of his later genius.

It takes place in a world of office , lodging-house and seamstress's rooms and consists of an impoverished love affair in letters between a copy clerk and a young girl who lives opposite him. Of the other stories in this volume T

Paperback, 271 pages
Published 1988 by Penguin Classics (first published 1845)
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Mar 19, 2015 Edward rated it it was amazing
Note on the Text

--Poor Folk
--The Landlady
--Mr Prokharchin

Aside from Poor Folk, which is very good (“and though I suffer for you, yet it eases my heart to suffer for you” - I’ll never tire of quoting that), the stories were underwhelming. It has to be remembered, though, that they are very early stories, written when Dostoevsky had just turned his mind to writing. He was trying to find his way, and, perhaps inevitably, began by emulating his favourite writers (like E. T. A. Hoffmann, Schiller, and Balzac). The excess of pathos, the intrusion of the ...more
Dr Nick
Aug 21, 2011 Dr Nick rated it liked it
Every journey begins with a single step someone once said. This unusual piece of prose was Fyodor D's first "novel" and for the record this is the first one of Dostoyevsky I have read in full. I tried the Brothers Karamazov when I was 17 but I was too too young and couldnt get past the first few chapters.

The form of this (pretty short) work is a set of letters between two people - an older man employed as a copyist a fairly low role within the burgeoning Russian civil service and an impoverished
Aug 17, 2009 Kyle rated it liked it
Woe to the book collectors, especially the type that really, really needs to own the complete works of Pushkin. That seems to be the message here from a young Dostoyevsky, known for writing a few of literature's heavier novels, who writes in a few of this volume's shorter stories about how this obsession with reading leads to ruin. Thanks a lot for telling me this now! I might have felt less like the Idiot perhaps if I had read this book instead of the 1869 novel as my first introduction to nine ...more
Feb 07, 2012 Eva rated it it was amazing
Dostoevsky's first major independent publication! It's a gem of a series of stories. Poor Folk is absolutely phenomenal -- it's written in the epistolary form, and shows a correspondence between a creepy older man and his mysterious younger relative. Devushkin is obsessed with style, yet aware that he doesn't have any; the result is a series of plagiarized, Frankenstein-ish letters that cannot but cause the readers much mirth. The other three stores are equally phenomenal; the Land Lady is ...more
Sep 11, 2008 Werebot rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dostoevsky obsessives.
Poor Folk was Dostoevsky's first work, and honestly it's a meandering snoozefest. But, this collection also contains the stories The Landlady, Mr. Prokharchin, and Polzunkov, all of which are good. The Landlady, in particular, is creepy and captivating. There is a scene in a church, where the hero first sees a beautiful girl accompanied by an old man, and another scene later in the same church with the same girl, that are very affecting, and much needed after slogging through Poor Folk.
Jun 28, 2007 Brian rated it really liked it
It was great to get a sense of early Dostoevsky, to see how his style had developed over time. These short stories reveal a higher level of sentimentality than his later works, but they also are marked by the philosophical/psychological probing for which he would become so famous. There are many interesting conversations in "Poor Folk" (an epistolary short novel), especially on art, its function, interpretation, etc. Altogether, fascinating stuff.
Sep 17, 2016 Paula rated it really liked it
Shelves: classics
Poor Folk

"yet when I read this one, it's as though I had written it myself, just as if, in a manner of speaking, I had taken my own heart, exactly as it is, and turned it inside out so that people could see what was in it..."

I don't like epistolary novels. But this one completely surprised me. It's sort of a love story between the old copy clerk Makar and the young Varvara, who lives across Makar's apartment. These 2 were both poor. Abjectly poor. And yet it's interesting how they support each
Ann Louise De Leon
Sep 27, 2016 Ann Louise De Leon rated it it was amazing
Psychological insights: human dignity and respect.
Jul 09, 2008 Henry rated it liked it
This book contains one novel and three short stories. The first and longest is Poor Folk, which is written as a series of letters between two people. I found it very interesting but I'm sure I didn't "get" what Dostoyevsky was trying to say. I suppose that's as much my fault as the fault of the book, or possibly completely my fault. I liked the section where Varvara wrote a short autobiographical history and particularly about when she was in love with Pokrovsky. Nevertheless, I found the story ...more
Dec 12, 2015 Rohit rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Poor folk is great - the other stories in the book are not so much worth the time. The other stories in the book give a glimpse of sub-par writing from a great writer in the period where he was not at his best. If you are one of those readers who want to see the contrast between a great writing and a fairly successful writing, the stories in this book bring that contrast. According to Dostoyevsky's biographers, some of the other stories were not very well received by the critiques and its that ...more
Louise Tobin
Apr 28, 2010 Louise Tobin rated it liked it
Shelves: russian, read-in-2010
Poor Folk told a story that has been told quite a bit - the plight of being poor. He told in an interesting way however, through letters from a middle aged man and his distant relative whom he lived across the street from, but couldn't visit often due to what people would see as unseemly.

The characters were a bit more normal, and probably more simple than your average Dostoyevsky characters. They had either mismanaged their finances in the name of their love and devotion (Makar), or had become
Chiek Er
Jul 07, 2013 Chiek Er rated it really liked it
The unfortunate Russians in the 19th century seem to be afflicted with poverty and illness quite easily. The life of poverty of scarce food and rags is made even more unbearable under societies prejudice and unkindness. But there are angels even amongst the poor who were willing to give up the little they have to someone even worse off. This is exactly what Jesus taught his disciples in Matt 25:40. To give and care for the least amongst us. What more, charity rendered anonymous was also ...more
Sep 12, 2009 Kimberley rated it liked it
I read this because 1) I wanted to try Dostoevsky, and I found it shorter and more accessible than his later novels, and 2) I was interested in epistolary tales, that is, stories written through letters. The two characters in the book were pitiful, sometimes through no fault of their own and sometimes, maddeningly, through their own stupidity. Also, the stupidity of the time/place played a role. If they could have pooled their incomes and shared their quarters, they might have been able to get ...more
Dec 30, 2008 Amy rated it liked it
This was ok. I was fascinated how everyone in Russia is poor and tragic and always fainting with tragic fever haze swoons and kept to their beds because they are so poor and depressed. I believe I would have enjoyed the stories more if I understood the background behind the society more thoroughly. I mean, were the two in the first story romantically involved or just wrote each other love notes? And were they even love notes? He was, like, twice her age. I had to force my way through half this ...more
May 04, 2010 Michael rated it really liked it
How wonderful to read these early stories by Dostoyevsky. He wrote all of these in his twenties and they are really psychological studies of complex characters. There is a reason why he is one of the greatest writers of all times. The Landlady was a story I had never read before that really blew me away!
Apr 12, 2016 Fatemah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition

رسائل يتبادلها الرجل المسن ماكار ديفوشكين و الآنسة فارفارا التي وجدت نفسها بحاجة له و لحمايته محتوى الرسائل يدور حول أمورهم اليومية و ما يواجههم في الحياة من صعوبات بسبب عوزهم في المسكن و الملبس و كيف يجود كل منهم على الأخر المال بالرغم من حاجته ، نهاية الرسائل فاجأتني و أعجبت بشخصية ماكار الرقيقة و الطيبة جداً
Dec 26, 2008 Jackie rated it it was amazing
i almost cried at the end of poor folk. His language is so subtle, so unobtrusive so well crafted that you grow attached to the fated lives of his characters before you realize you are being drawn in.
Apr 29, 2016 Mark rated it really liked it
"Poor Folk" is a revelation, fantastic story. "The Landlady" is a tour de force of anguish on supernatural levels. I feel the book should have ended there, as the other 2 stories that close the book seem misplaced and orphaned. Both worth a read, but out of place in this collection.
Jackson Cyril
Dostoevsky before he became "Dostoevsky" and started to churn out masterpiece after masterpiece: basically lightweight stuff.
Christian Kiefer
Christian Kiefer rated it really liked it
Oct 29, 2015
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Mar 17, 2013
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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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