Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Documents Concerning Rubashov the Gambler” as Want to Read:
Documents Concerning Rubashov the Gambler
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Documents Concerning Rubashov the Gambler

3.68  ·  Rating Details ·  259 Ratings  ·  22 Reviews
St Petersburg, 1899. Obsessive gambler Rubashov has played every game in town. Now on New Year's Eve, he finds himself on the brink of ruin, and decides to make a bid for the ultimate rush, the biggest gamble ever, to challenge the Devil to a game of poker.

Rubashov loses. His punishment is not to go straight to Hell (Hell is full and has been for years), instead he is cond
Paperback, 304 pages
Published July 3rd 2008 by Vintage (first published 1996)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Documents Concerning Rubashov the Gambler, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about Documents Concerning Rubashov the Gambler

This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 369)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Kevin Tole
I'll admit to expecting much from this book - fairly glowing reviews from the blats and likened unto a 20th Century great in the Master and Margarita. In truth, it in no way approaches the depth and 'mastery' Bulgakov’s wonderful book.
Instead what we get is a pretty strong narrative leading Rubashov through all the trouble spots from his initial contract with the devil at one millennium till his release at the next. These events are written pretty loosely and almost in an ‘airport blockbuster’ s
Sep 06, 2012 Kelanth rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: narrativa, favorites
Bellissimo davvero questo libro con protagonista un giocatore d'azzardo di nome Rubasov, che in una notte del finire del 1800, per il solo piacere del brivido fa la massima puntata con il giocatore migliore che potrà mai incontrare... il diavolo... e ovviamente perde, perde la sua anima, e all'inferno non c'è più posto e così Rubasov come altri prima di lui dovrà vagare nella sala d'attesa delle anime, il mondo, per l'eternità.

Prigioniero suo malgrado diventa immortale e così lo vediamo attraver
Mar 26, 2012 Jo rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
It's a great idea - at the beginning of the 20th century, Rubashov makes a pact with Satan. The book is the story of what happens next.


The style isn't amazing, though I don't want to make too much of that, because I read it in translation.

You won't really care about Rubashov, or any of the other potentially fascinating characters who show up here - Rasputin, Paracelsus, Countess Bathory etc. I think the big names turn up and vanish again too fast to make much of an impression, while Rubash
Dec 12, 2008 Liviu rated it it was ok
Shelves: mainstream
Very interesting premise - gambler loses soul in bet with devil and is sentenced to immortality which seems strange, but soon transforms indeed in Hell on Earth.

However the execution is marginal at best - either the translation is not great or the original is just a very boring book considering the premise.
Has some flashes of what could have been early on, but otherwise it just transforms into a bunch of 20th century headlines of the infamous.

This subject - encounters with the infamous of the
Tsvetelina Stambolova-Vasileva
Февруари ми е месец за втори шанс на книги, които по някаква причина не съм дочела. :) Като тази.
Подведох се по анотацията, а и книгата беше достатъчно добра в първата си 1/3. За съжаление нататък стана доста безсмислена и объркана, а накрая - направо противна. Разбирам каква е идеята на автора: за Доброто и Злото, за Дявола и Бога и човекът, като живото им въплъщение; за безкрайното повторение на историята, за съсипването на планетата ни и т.н. Но чисто повествователно книгата можеше да е в пъ
Jul 13, 2012 Sakura87 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Scavando scavando...

Quattro e mezzo, non cinque, ma andiamo con ordine.
E’ uno dei libri più avvincenti che mi siano capitati tra le mani negli ultimi tempi: c’è quello spruzzo di soprannaturale che tanto mi attira, il patto col diavolo con tanto di partita a poker che ha sancito definitivamente la mia decisione di acquistarlo, una passeggiata tra i disastri più efferati del secolo breve, incontri casuali con le figure più ambigue della storia: Rasputin, il mio vecchio concittadino Cagliostro, Pa
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Dec 30, 2011 Mrs rated it it was amazing
The book moved me to tears, the horrors of the 20th century (which we go through with the "hero") appear to be so damn violent, so senseless, so little heroic, so ruining, so full of endless suffering and cruelty that it filled me with complete bewilderment and oppressive feelings regarding to the future. I think this was the only time I wished an author would write less vivid and brillant...
This is a distressing journey through history and reading can result the loss of believing in reason and
La Stamberga dei Lettori
May 02, 2011 La Stamberga dei Lettori rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: sakura87
Si staglia a metà tra la quarta e la quinta stelletta aNobiiana, forse non proprio meritatamente, ma vedrò di andare con ordine.

E’ uno dei libri più avvincenti che mi siano capitati tra le mani negli ultimi tempi: c’è quello spruzzo di soprannaturale che tanto mi attira, il patto col diavolo con tanto di partita a poker che ha sancito definitivamente la mia decisione di acquistarlo, una passeggiata tra i disastri più efferati del secolo breve, incontri casuali con le figure più ambigue della sto
Jan 20, 2015 Ian rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set up was very promising. Writing fell away. Did like the humanist, non-dichotomous good/evil wrap up.
Dec 14, 2011 Chanter rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
En misslyckad roman som dock inte störde mig särskilt mycket. Vallgren är bra på att mörka bristen på innehåll med god bildning och bristen på meningsfull röd tråd med roliga magiska effekter, och boken slutar aldrig vara underhållande. Inga särskilda insikter nås och plotten faller sönder hela tiden men det gör inte så mycket eftersom tonfallet aldrig blir självgott. Klart, om han hade fokuserat på någon av de många bra idéerna - istället för att leka Bulgakov eller försöka summera upp hela nit ...more
Chris Wray
Jul 03, 2016 Chris Wray rated it it was amazing
Sensational study of the 20th Century through the eyes of Josef Rubashov. Loved it!
Ermina Williams
Mar 16, 2011 Ermina Williams rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I adored this novel. I adored Rubashov and the devil. The not quite fleshed out investigation of time and memory was thought provoking. It was a rumination on the fictitious nature of historical recollection and the personal narratives we weave, and on the capacity for man to err or excel dramatically. I highly recommend this novel for those whose like a bit history, aren't afraid of atrocities, and are interested in seeing the idea of a life immortal ironed out to the nth degree.
Jul 24, 2013 Adele rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I loved it without really wanting to.

A book filled with raw and brutal descriptions of events in the 20th century is not something I ever thouht I would enjoy reading. However, the horrible events are displayed with Vallgren's usual skilled authorship, which somehow makes it worth the while.

This is one of these books which you just can't forget, and truly makes you question things you never even thought of before.
En fascinerande bok pa manga plan forutom det litterara: historia, religion, psykoligi. Vallgrens sprak ar vackert, detaljrikt, latt arkaiskt, men anda lattlast och det ar latt att dras in i Rubashovs varld och kanna den overvaldigande sorg och trotthet som gar som en rod trad genom berattelsen. En bok om kampen mellan det onda och det goda, men forst och framst om manniskan. En bok jag sakert kommer att lasa om.
Jan 23, 2008 Harper rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Neal
I found this a most disquieting read--in a good way that is. The dustcover promises a somewhat whimsical tour de force of European history as seen through the eyes of the immortal Rubashov. The reality is however, far different. Valgren is a fascinating author; he sees humanity through a deeply exposing, clinical lens that reveals all our foibles and fetid little habits.
Jun 28, 2011 Jakubukaj rated it did not like it
Contrary to the blurb, I would say that this book is destined to stand a long way behind Bulgakov's classic, and will never be viewed as anything other than a largely forgettable pastiche of 19th and early 20th century literature by authors with much higher pedigrees.
Jonas Toftefors
Inte den bästa av Vallgren. Dock lagom underhållande för en dags tågresa! Man märker hur hans språk och beskrivningar utvecklas i hans senare verk. Bitvis kan det kännas som en skiss till "den vidunderliga kärlekens historia".
Aug 01, 2013 Mark rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I read this in English. A story that covers a full century, with protagonists famous and lesser-known. It is an original piece of writing, slightly fantastical, very entertaining.
Mar 15, 2013 Bo rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Detta är ingen vanlig bok. Imponerande arbete av lindrigt talat akrobatisk författare. Alla kommer inte att tycka om den.
Dec 16, 2012 Elena rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favorites
Loved it 'till the last page!
Nov 02, 2008 Julia marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
Charlotte Wray
Charlotte Wray is currently reading it
Oct 16, 2016
Deny rated it really liked it
Oct 13, 2016
Christoffer Noveskär
Christoffer Noveskär marked it as to-read
Oct 06, 2016
Rebecka rated it really liked it
Sep 25, 2016
Danie marked it as to-read
Sep 03, 2016
Niclas Carlsson
Niclas Carlsson rated it really liked it
Sep 02, 2016
Redmoon marked it as to-read
Aug 31, 2016
Tobias rated it liked it
Aug 28, 2016
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 12 13 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Gregorius
  • The Christmas Oratorio
  • Det går an
  • La vera storia del pirata Long John Silver
  • La chimera
  • Löwensköldska ringen / Charlotte Löwensköld
  • Det Lykkelige Arabien: En Dansk Ekspedition, 1761 67
  • Blindbock (Opcop, #3)
  • Jan, mein Freund
  • Ett öga rött
  • Inferno
  • Guerra agli umani
  • L'allegra apocalisse
  • Het zesde zintuig
  • Hon går genom tavlan, ut ur bilden
  • Kensington Gardens
  • Il fuggiasco
  • Om konsten att läsa och skriva
He is the author of eight novels, of which The Horrific Sufferings of the Mind-reading Monster Hercules Barefoot is the first novel to be translated into English. His novels have been translated into twenty-five languages. He lives in Stockholm.
More about Carl-Johan Vallgren...

Share This Book