Poor Folk
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Poor Folk

3.69 of 5 stars 3.69  ·  rating details  ·  3,682 ratings  ·  203 reviews
Poor Folk is an epistolary novel -- that is, a tale told as a series of letters between the characters. And oh, what characters these are! Makar Dievushkin Alexievitch is a copy writer, barely squeaking by; Barbara Dobroselova Alexievna works as a seamstress, and both face the sort of everyday humiliation society puts upon the poor. These are people respected by no one, no...more
Paperback, 167 pages
Published September 1st 2003 by Wildside Press (first published 1845)
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Crime and Punishment by Fyodor DostoyevskyAnna Karenina by Leo TolstoyThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Master and Margarita by Mikhail BulgakovWar and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
Best Russian Literature
70th out of 342 books — 1,332 voters
Pride and Prejudice by Jane AustenJane Eyre by Charlotte BrontëWuthering Heights by Emily BrontëThe Picture of Dorian Gray by Oscar WildeAlice's Adventures in Wonderland & Through the Looking-Glass by Lewis Carroll
Best Books of the 19th Century
245th out of 601 books — 3,058 voters

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Community Reviews

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The first works of Dostoyevsky were translations of French fiction. He was translating Eugénie Grandet, and, on an evening stroll, he has "the vision on the Neva".

Да! я могу это сделать!

In his mind he sees two sad and hopeless people that just break his heart. He sat down and wrote Poor Folk, his first novel. He did it in just nine months. And he never quite got out of Balzac's grip: obviously Puskin and Gogol too - but it was the inspiration from Balzac that got him to pick up a pen and write...more
This is a ridiculous book. It is the letters exchanged between a poor old man and a poor young woman who live in the same housing complex but who rarely see each other for the sake of propriety. It's basically something like this:
"Oh Makar this week I lost my job and I'm running out of cash and I'm feeling so sick that I just might die! Whatever shall I do!"

"Oh Varvara, you poor child. Let me, as a father figure, send you some flowers and linens even though I have no money and will probably get
time for some more dostoyevsky. read here that this was his 1st novel? written as letters? heh! yes. there's a bit of hilarity at the start, makar alexievitch writing to his barbara and they are communicating w/windows.

no, not windows 98, 92, or iTeeth 2012...heh heh! when the curtains are arranged in a certain way it means one thing or another. 1st person...

...and...he writes to barbara alexievna who lives within sight of his window. heh! imagine if he had an iMac?

update at the 44% mark, kindle...more
Dec 07, 2012 Riya rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: russia
This is a short novel about poverty and the effects it has on a person - emotionally and physically. The two main characters are both poor and write letters to each other describing the hard life they both experience, along with the affection they feel for each other. Basically, the message that I got from this book is: being poor sucks - people will despise you and look down on you, you will be made fun of and disrespected, you will most likely get sick over and over again, and you will look li...more
Jul 25, 2012 Sasha rated it 4 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Katch 22
Never have I been confronted with such an intimate portrayal of a love so chaste and pure doomed by the harsh realities of poverty. While a handful of Dostoevsky's books like Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov and Notes from Underground did the job of delving into the inner depths of man's dehumanization and redemption, Poor Folk painted a more powerful testimony of Russia's sad history. I found myself sweltering in profound sorrow after reading the exchange of love letters between the...more
NaÐa A. Muhammĕd
اكتر واحد اثر في نفسي جورشكوف ، كأنه انتظر استرداد كرامته ليموت ! ، الحياة الآخرى في روسيا ، الحياة التي هي بعيدة كل البعد عن البيوت الأنيقة وضحكات النفاق ، وحفلات الرقص ومآدب الطعام ، حياة آخرى أقسى حيث هؤلاء من لا يدخرون لغد ومن أين لهم المال للإدخار ؟ ، من أين لهم المال ليطعموا أنفسهم ويصلحوا أزرار قمصانهم ؟ .. النهاية الدرامية حيث تحسن حال ماكار ولكن القدر يبعده عن فارنكا .. هكذا هي لا تمنحك كل شىء .
Yakup  Öner
Çoğunluğun sınıfı olan 'alt sınıfı', tüm gerçekliğiyle ve olağanca sergileyen önemli bir klasiktir.Bu sınıfın kaygılarını, sevinçlerini, haykırışlarını, afacanlıklarını ve hınzırlıklarını bir kar topu yapıp suratlarımıza fırlatır. Böylelikle biraz acıtır.Okur kitabı okudukça, karakterlere bakıp şunu diyebilir; ''bu ben değilim.'' fakat ''bu şahsiyetler bize hiçte uzak değillermiş.'' diyeceklerdir.
Erik Graff
Mar 17, 2008 Erik Graff rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: anyone interested in Dostoevsky
Recommended to Erik by: Janny Marie Willis
I read Poor Folk (aka Poor People) in the Constance Garnett translation while studying Russian history in college. In it Dostoevsky tries to do fictionally what Friedrich Engels did journalistically in The Condition of the Working Class in England. I liked it because it gave a concrete picture of how the poor lived in pre-revolutionary Russia, if only from the perspective of an aspiring writer of the intelligentsia. I liked it also because it was so very different than the rest of his writing: m...more
This is a rather sad work which reflects on the humiliation of poverty and the fragile soul of man.

The story is told in the letters between Makar Alexievitch and his love, Varvara Dobroselova. Makar is a poor, humble copyist who lives in a tiny corner of a kitchen in a grimy boarding house, yet he seems satisfied with his life. Despite his poverty and Varvara's cautions, Makar continues to buy things for her and go into debt. Soon he can't pay his rent, his clothes are in a dreadful state and he...more
Heba TariQ
جميلة بكل ما تحتويه الكلمة
من المقتبسات
اه من اولئك الذين يكتبون الحكايات و الروايات ! ألا يستطيعون أن يكتبوا شيئاً مفيداً نجد فيه السرور و المتعة ؟ لا ! إنهم بالضرورة يجمعون فى حكاياتهم التى يكتبونها كل القذارة و لا شئ سوى القذارة إننى أريد
أن امنعهم جميعاً من الكتابة .

كأنهم يخشون أن تنقشع آلام الفقر عن حياة الفقراء , و كأنهم يخافون أن ينجلى بؤس الفقر عن حياة الفقراء . إنهم يراقبونك دائماً ليروا ما إذا كنت تضعين قدمك فوق الأرض و إنتِ ذليلة أم لا , و يدققون نظراتهم...more
I read this directly after the amazing House of the Dead, which may not have been the best idea. Poor Folk was good enough, but pretty much pales in comparison to House. I feel like I didn't give it a fair enough chance; it's also really not the kind of book I really get into, though. I liked the epistolary style, but the unceasing declarations of love between the two main characters just had me yawning and rolling my eyes and caused me to overlook a lot of Dostoevsky's intended statements about...more
Alguns escritores parecem já nascer maduros.Este é o primeiro livro publicado do autor,uma novela epistolar escrita quando ele contava apenas 25 anos.Nessa altura,já continha as características do seu estilo particular.Escrito com simplicidade e talvez por isso mesmo capaz de sensibilizar aos mais empedernidos,mostra que a pobreza não é capaz de modificar a nobreza do carácter apesar de conduzir a situações adversas.

Pode ter alguma importância ou não,mas este livro foi terminado de ler por mim n...more
A series of letters between two who love each other. They are both so poor they do not believe they can marry. They have no one's respect. They do not even respect themselves. A view of how people in poverty view themselves and how others perceive them. This book made me feel grateful I have family that loves me, food to eat and a warm place to sleep.
This will go down as the book I read on my Kindle while I tried to rock my newborn baby to sleep. Perhaps a weird choice. I recall reading Grimm's Fairy Tales while holding my first child, though I think I read some of those out loud, perhaps scarring her for life. Also, not necessarily a wise choice as Dostoyevsky is not a fast-paced author. So at 3:30 in the morning while I am half-awake, trying to get a baby to sleep but needing to keep awake so I don't drop the baby, would Dostoyevsky make m...more
Ramin Ahmadi
i had a relationship with a girl and that book reminds me of her
how i was relying on her and how she left me without no word
Written as letters between Makar and Barbara, one an old man, the other a pretty young orphan with terrible health, this is a pretty short book.

And it can be prety well summed up by this:

"My dearest, darling Barbara, I sleep in the room in the kitchen, because it's smaller and taxes less upon my money— so I can have tea and sugar every day! I'm sending you some bonbons through Thedora."

"Dearest Makar, HOW could you send me these bonbons, when you are living in the kitchen! You are sacrificing yo...more
I wanted to ease myself into Dostoevsky, as I have begun a few others of his and become discouraged. While I was able to finish this one, I had to force myself. I understood that he was trying to show us the plight of the poor during this time frame, but the characters he used to do this were maddening!

First, it's back and forth, I love you, but not THAT way, no you mustn't, I can't help it, I'm IN love with you, I'm too old for you, on and on until I felt like smacking them. When they finally s...more
Carsten Thomsen
There is a crack in my soul, and I can hear it trembling, quivering, stirring deep inside me.
Makar to Varvara

This is Dostoevsky’s first novel, written when he was 25. It’s a short epistolary novel and I think a good introduction to this russian literary giant. It’s essential Dostoyevskian in style and theme - the random thoughts and extreme emotions - the exploration of the destitute people - the solitary underground man who seems on the brink of insanity.

We follow the correspondence between tw...more
Il fatto è che io, nonostante legga un buon numero di libri l'anno, sono ancora -e penso che a questo punto rimarrò per sempre- una lettrice sprovveduta. Posso atteggiarmi a cinica quando leggo i dialoghi tra due innamorati che si appellano "passerottino" e tentare di prendere più sul serio un romanzo come Delitto e castigo, più duro, logico, intellettuale forse, ma è una posa la mia. Preferirò sempre la storia di due "mediocri" reietti (empatia!), alle vicissitudini di chi la storia vuol cambia...more
This book is a collection of letters between a poor civil servant and a ruined ill young woman with an unfortunate past. The charm of the story lies in what is not said. What happens when the two are together? How do the emotions, just hinted at in the letters, drive the story? The final letter is left unfinished. How does the story end? The possibilities excite the imagination and carry the reader away into Dostoyevsky's world. Even without his characteristic lush descriptions of place and peop...more
Amazing book! The first book Dostoevsky published and it's beautiful. There are two primary characters, and they send letters to each other. The important fact though is how you can actually see how degrading society can be. It's written so long ago, but in the end it's so visionary - it's the world as we live it today. ♥♥
Maria João Fernandes
"Por que não sou ave de rapina?"

"Gente Pobre" é uma história sobre um caso amoroso entre um copista de meia idade e uma jovem mulher, que vivem a poucos metros de distância um do outro. A sua relação é exposta através da sua troca de cartas, que gradualmente revela a sua dependência emocional e financeira.

"Tenho a minha fatia de pão; é verdade que o meu pão é singelo, às vezes até é seco, mas tenho-o, ganho-o com o meu trabalho, como-o com legitimidade e sem pecado."

O tema principal não é a paix...more
Interesting first novel. Wish I had a better understanding of Russian culture and this time period. The two characters seemed a bit strange, but their plight as poor people in St. Petersburg came through despite the cultural barrier.
Marts  (Thinker)
A presentation of a series of letters expressing the love shared between Makar Alexievitch and Barbara Alexievna, both too poor to marry but still much consumed by and concerned for each other...
Jun 20, 2012 Don rated it 5 of 5 stars
Shelves: russian
Money changes everything. Read this slim volume mostly because I found it at a yard sale and it was what made Dostoyevsky famous at the age of 24. Very sad. Well worth the time.
This book is so hilarious and poignant. I related to it so much that I found myself skimming across the ending because I thought I would die if I read it. It's so heartbreaking!
Simply excellent! one gets Dostoevsky's thoughts on Gogol & other contemporary themes of his time in his first novel...a foreshadowing of the greatness that would come.
Poor Folk was Dostoyevsky's first novel, written in the form of correspondence between Makar and Barbara, a poor government clerk, and a seamstress who are in love, but too poor and downtrodden to do anything about it.

Overall, it's a very depressing read (unsurprisingly). Makar is so desperate for money that he walks on the toes of his boots to save the heels, and a button comes off his jacket when he is in a meeting with his superior. Even the neighborhood moneylender sees Makar as a bad risk....more
But when you read this one, you feel as if you'd written it yourself.--P76.
Nayan Pokhrel
Massively underrated. Go read.
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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.

Dostoevsky was the second son of a former army doctor. He was educated at home and at a private school. Shortly after the death...more
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“And though I suffer for you, yet it eases my heart to suffer for you.” 11 likes
“I don’t even know what I’m writing, I have no idea, I don’t know anything, and I’m not reading over it, and I’m not correcting my style, and I’m writing just for the sake of writing, just for the sake of writing more to you… My precious, my darling, my dearest!” 8 likes
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