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The Eternal Husband and Other Stories

4.15  ·  Rating Details ·  2,082 Ratings  ·  56 Reviews
The Eternal Husband and Other Stories brings together five of Dostoevsky’s short masterpieces rendered into English by two of the most celebrated Dostoevsky translators of our time. Filled with many of the themes and concerns central to his great novels, these short works display the full range of Dostoevsky’s genius. The centerpiece of this collection, the short novel The ...more
Paperback, 349 pages
Published September 5th 2000 by Bantam Classics (first published January 1st 1890)
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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Best Russian Literature
399 books — 1,729 voters
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Community Reviews

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Jul 14, 2008 Christina rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2008
The short stories in this book range from very dark to quite hilarious. "A Nasty Anecdote" describes a high-status man who tries to socialize with the "little people" to show them just how humane he is, but he fails and what Dostoevsky presents is an extremely awkward situation that almost hurts to read, yet is still very funny (kind of like the UK The Office, which is painfully and hilariously awkward).

"The Eternal Husband" is an amazing story. I was blown away. It is very intense; there are so
Mar 16, 2009 Frederick rated it it was amazing
The title story is a novella. That is the part I read. "The Eternal Husband" is the model for Saul Bellow's novel, THE VICTIM. Having read and liked THE VICTIM, I decided to read Dostoevsky's novella. I read it in the translation by Pevear and Volokhonsky. (That's the Bantam edition with the Magritte-like painting on the cover, with the man's back to us.) Dostoevsky's masterpiece is not only the model for Bellow's book, it is the blueprint. Bellow's genius was to introduce the theme of antisemit ...more
This was my first effort at Dostoyevsky's shortest-length works, and it is a series of stories ranging from the rather dull to the sublime. The central novella, The Eternal Husband, didn't hold that much appeal to me, but some of the others -- Bobok, The Meek One, The Dream of a Ridiculous Man -- are solid gold in that best, most absurd and angry and funny way that Russians write. Stories that breathe flaming fumes.
Mar 04, 2009 Frankie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: russian
A Nasty Anecdote, also known as An Unpleasant Predicament along with every other possible translation of the words, is not as pristine of plot as D's previous stories. The paralleled figures, Pralinsky and Pseldonymov, seem to be developed fully, but many of the detailed characters like Mlekopitaev remain offstage. The main idea behind the conflict of the story is brilliant, and apropos to the subject matter of the day. Alexander II had just freed Russia from serfdom, and the intelligentsia were ...more
Mar 07, 2012 Harman rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dostoevsky is known for his long fiction, and for good reason; it seems that his short stories are hit-and-miss. I gave the book four stars because the stories that I did like I did so much as to counterbalance those that I did not.
A Nasty Anecdote seemed to be a super-abridged version of a Dostoevsky novel, to the point that the drama and bite inherent in his loner works is watered-down, if not absent. It was a good story, with witty, even embarrassingly hilarious moments, but altogether it fel
May 27, 2014 Marie rated it really liked it
Unfortunately, I had read three of the stories in this five-story collection already. Fortunately, the two I hadn't read were the best of the lot. "Eternal Husband" is really long enough to be considered a short novel, but I imagine it's the length of modern novels that lead to it being packaged with other stories to thicken the book spine.

"Eternal Husband" infuriated me at times. I admit it - I picked the book up because I liked the title. I wanted more husband-ing, but there are very few actua
Karan Gupta
Jul 23, 2014 Karan Gupta rated it really liked it
This is another one of those books that I ordered as a step forth in my attempt to complete Dostoyevsky's works. The name of the primary story was somewhat intriguing and Dostoyevsky is always a good bet. Hence I ordered it without much thought. The book turned out to have five short stories, two of which ("Bobok" and "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man") I had already covered in another compilation. The other three, I read with relish.

A very short note about Dostoyevsky's writing in this book : the
Apr 07, 2014 Jonathon rated it really liked it
Overall, a great collection of some of Dostoevsky's lesser known works. This book collects one long novella (The Eternal Husband, clocking in close to 200 pages), and four short stories. What's surprising is the amount of dark humor on display here. Dostoevsky is usually thought of as a very serious writer, and yet these stories feature some fantastically awkward comedy. Here is a breakdown of the stories:

A Nasty Anecdote (4/5): This is a hilariously cringe-inducing story that could double as a
Jason Goodman
Well, I have not been jumping up and down clicking my heels if that is what you are asking. Since when does a secret group of people get together and decide that they are going to make an authors book a classic of print? Personally, I have read a number of Russian authors and I do not feel that Fyodor is one of the better writers. Is that going to damn me to hell fire? These stories were difficult, not because of some deep esoteric implication, there were entire page's that just went on and on t ...more
Aug 02, 2010 Richard rated it really liked it
Dostoevsky was clearly NOT the master of the short story in the way that he was the master of the prolonged novel of humanity, but the title story of this book (more like a short novel running in at just under 200 pages) really kept me hooked, and I kept wanting to come back to it to finish it. In the title story, a man runs into the widower of a woman he'd had an affair with years ago. With it comes all of the great Dostoevsky humor and human extremism that he is well-canoned for. The last thre ...more
Jessica C.
Jul 19, 2012 Jessica C. rated it really liked it
I love anything Dostoevsky. In spite of the writing conditions he placed himself under always gambling, drinking, owing everyone money, and his distinctive experience with his hairbreadth escape from being on the receiving end of a shooting squad he maintained an amazing incite into the human condition. He spent 5 years in Siberia for his involvement with anti-government elements but rose to greatness after his death as one of the forerunners into the mind of a man tortured by his existence;he s ...more
May 04, 2008 Anna rated it liked it
In Polish edition under the title The eternal husband and and other stories there are four novellas - Honest thief, The Christmas tree and the wedding, The eternal husband and Stiepanchzikovo town and its citizens. Dostoevsky in smaller forms than Crime and Punishment or The Brothers Karamazov.
Nick Ziegler
Feb 03, 2016 Nick Ziegler rated it really liked it
The satire and farce of A Nasty Anecdote work to great effect. I was curiously unaffected by the Eternal Husband, and feel I am missing something. Bobok is a trifle, but brash and witty. The Meek One is an early example of "stream of consciousness" that masterfully explores how we are controlled by forces internal yet alien to us; and how knowledge can both be known and disguised, disclosed and hidden. And if we so little understand ourselves, what torment can come of our encounters with another ...more
Mar 23, 2012 Jennifer rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I really enjoyed this collection of stories especially the first two. I found "A Nasty Anecdote" to be hilarious and "The Eternal Husband" was thoroughly fascinating and engaging. I was so completely involved in the story that when I finished I felt that I had to take a break. As I told a friend, Dostoyevsky is like red meat - very rich, very good, but very heavy and sometimes you have to take a break. The last few stories I didn't enjoy as much, but thought they were still worth reading.
May 08, 2015 Aurko rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Barring one, all the stories have a sense of claustrophobic oppressiveness in them. It's like looking at the world through a filter of madness. All the protagonists are trying to live up to an idea and all of them are coming short by virtue of human foibles. You will not regret picking up this book.
Jan 05, 2009 Charlise rated it liked it
"No artistic salon singer could ever have achieved such an effect. In this romance, the intensity of the passion rises and grows with every line, every word; precisely because of this extraordinary intensity, the slightest falseness, the slightest exaggeration or untruth -- which one gets away with so easily in opera -- would here ruin and distort the whole meaning."
Stoyan Petrov
Feb 05, 2014 Stoyan Petrov rated it really liked it
Dostoyevsky is amazing, even his short stories (some of them not that short at all) are great. I particularly liked "Вечный муж", "Село Степанчиково и его обитатели" and "Дядюшкин сон". As an author, he is an astonishing researcher of the human soul and likes bringing to the surface all the misery, greediness and hypocrisy mankind possesses. It's not an easy read but it's definitely worth it.
Jonathan Dickstein
Oct 03, 2008 Jonathan Dickstein rated it it was amazing
I liked all these pieces. Notably, however, read this for Bobok (a funny short piece about death) and The Dream of a Ridiculous Man. As a note, I wouldn't recommend reading The Dream of a Ridiculous Man until reading most, if not all, of the major pieces by Dostoevsky: this little piece tells everything.
Don’t know where I picked up my addition, but it is only the Eternal Husband. If you have red his stories, the characters are keeping with his style and comical and painful to witness at the same time.
What if you are lonely and the only person you have to befriend is also someone you want to seek revenge on. That is the conflict of the novel and worth the read.
A great collection of short stories by Dostoevsky. Although "The Eternal Husband" is a bit long, it proves to be very satisfying. Within this collection my favorites were "The Meek One" and "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man." Actually the latter of my favorites provides a good description of paradise without the Fall as seen from an Eastern Christian perspective.
Oct 24, 2012 Noam rated it liked it
pretty much all good. also mostly all lesser, derivative versions of the big novels, but lesser and derivative versions of those are better than most novels. the titular novel and dream of a ridiculous man were particularly good!
Erma Odrach
Aug 14, 2011 Erma Odrach rated it it was amazing
All but one of these stories were written in the last ten years of Dostoevsky's life. There's a lot of the usual psychological interplay, and the chracters are all to real. My favorite was The Meek One, where a man deals with the suicide of his wife.
David Williamson
Sep 17, 2011 David Williamson rated it really liked it
A book illuminating aspects fo Dostoevsky's thought and philosophy - a Dostoevsky abridged or lite. Some moments of real anguish and touching psychology, although I'm not sure how well Dostoevsky lends himself to short stories; even at 150 pages for a story.
Dec 30, 2015 Firda rated it it was amazing
Shelves: russian-lit
Well, this is a slow-burn type of a book -- a diesel engine if I might say, I was rather struggling to find the flow at the first pages, and yet nearing the middle it became more and more unputdownable -- I just couldn't stop reading. Might definitely continue reading his other books for sure :D
Mar 14, 2013 Kate rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Dostoevsky unfurls his characters' psyches here with even more intensity and depth than in his novels (see "The Meek One," "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man"). An change of pace in the surprisingly funny "Bobok." Excellent notes, also.
Phani Tholeti
Dec 16, 2012 Phani Tholeti rated it liked it
Five stories:
The meek one
The dream of a ridiculous man
The eternal husband
A nasty anecdote

Eternal Husband becomes long and boring at places. But the others are good. Too good. The non-continuity in the thoughts of a human are so clearly brought out, its amazing to read.
Jan 01, 2009 Julies rated it it was amazing
If you've never read Dostoevsky's shorter works, you should really get on that. There's some fantastic satire in here, some of his best humor, and some really heart-wrenching stuff. If you're into undiscovered gems of great authors, this is a great collection with which to start.
May 27, 2007 Vangelicmonk rated it really liked it
Recommends it for: Dosteovsky Fans
Shelves: fiction
A great compliation of Dosteovsky short stories. I didn't like all of them, but I did like "The Eternal Husband," "The Meek One" and "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man." The other two stories were ok, but nothing special. I recommend the book.
Bill Barker
First reading of Dostoevsky. I enjoyed the writing but all the stories were so grim both the setting and story, even with the glint of humor which Dostoevsky displays. I intend to read more of this author.
Jan 05, 2013 Dan rated it it was amazing
Though FD is mostly know for his longer works, these shorter stories are among his best material.
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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
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“Depravity in such a place, the depravity of last hopes, the depravity of flabby and rotting corpses and—not even sparing the last moments of consciousness! They’re given, they’re made a gift of these moments and…” 1 likes
“But if this is the sun, if this is absolutely the same as our sun,” I cried out, “then where is the earth?” And my companion pointed to the little star that shone in the darkness with an emerald brilliance. We were rushing straight toward her. “And are such replicas really possible in the universe, is that really the law of nature?… And if that is the earth there, is it really the same as our earth… absolutely the same, unfortunate, poor, but dear and eternally beloved, giving birth to the same tormenting love for herself even in her most ungrateful children?…” I cried out, shaking with irrepressible, rapturous love for that former native earth I had abandoned.” 1 likes
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