Ketil's Reviews > The Gambler

The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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Aug 26, 11

bookshelves: classics

The gambler

There's a book that I read almost every summer on the beach. I've read it more than 10 times now. The twists and turns of the story are hardly surprising me anymore. Now I read the book mostly to admire the writing.

My copy is a nice hardbound and leather-back book. It was printed in 1946, and I bought it 2nd hand from an antiquarian many years ago.

The book I'm talking about is The Gambler by Dostoyevsky. It's a relatively short narrative novel, just a little bit more than 200 pages. It's an easy and entertaining read, and a very suitable beach book, I think.

The story takes place in a German gambling town with the brilliant name Roulettenburg. The protagonist and narrator is a tutor employed by a poor Russian General who has lost his past fortune. The General wants to marry a beatuiful woman, but to be able to do this, he needs money. Back in Russia is the old and very rich Grandmother who is expected to die very soon. Every day the General telegraphs to Russia, asking about her health. He is impatiently waiting for her death, and to inherit her fortune.

One day, the old Grandmother unexpectedly arrives in Roulettenburg. She goes straight to the casino, to put her fortune (and the General's heritage) at stake by the roulette table ... and this is were the real fun begins. I say no more.

Dostoyevsky was addicted to gambling himself. In this novel he gives a brilliant and in-depth exposition of gambling psychology, built on his personal experience (and if you're cusious about Dostoyevsky, I recommend the biography by Geir Kjetsaa)
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