Hayley Smith-Kirkham's Reviews > Demons

Demons by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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May 03, 12

bookshelves: currently-reading, literature

Why I love Dostoevsky, in Three Parts:

I. "You should have seen him when he sat down to play cards in our club. His whole look seemed to say: 'Cards! Me sit down to play whist with you! Is it compatible? Who must answer for it? Who broke up my activity and turned it into whist? Ah, perish Russia!' and he would trump majestically with a heart."
He's hilarious. All of the time. Seriously, ALL OF THE TIME. His description of Karmazinov's article describing the shipwreck he witnessed almost brought me to tears.

II. "Never before had she seen such writers. They were impossibly vain, but quite openly so, as if thereby fulfilling a duty. Some (though by no means all) even came drunk, but it was as if they perceived some special, just-yesterday-discovered beauty in it."
Something always reminds me of my friends.

III. "'Oh, my friends,' he sometimes exclaimed, inspired, 'you cannot imagine what sorrow and anger seize one's whole soul when a great idea, which one has so long and piously revered, is picked up by some bunglers and dragged into the street, to more fools like themselves, and one suddenly meets it in the flea market, unrecognizable, dirty, askew, absurdly presented, without proportion, without harmony, a toy for stupid children! No! It was not so in our day, that is not what we strove for. No, no, not that at all. I recognize nothing.'"
He speaks to my soul.
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Comments (showing 1-2 of 2) (2 new)

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message 1: by J. (new)

J. Ah, now he (as opposed to Steinbeck!) sounds wonderful and I thank you for your description...gonna have to read it now. THIS is an example of good writing. :)


message 2: by Hayley (new) - added it

Hayley Smith-Kirkham Well Dostoevsky does present his own problems. I got 14% (thanks, kindle) of the way through this one when I decided to just start over from the beginning so that I'd really know who everyone was and what the shit was going on 'behind the scenes'. And inbetween the gems like those above is a lot of societal intrigue and Dostoevsky's thinly veiled opinions/caricatures of 17th century Russian society that can be more or less interesting or tiring (I don't give a damn what you feel about slavophiles, Fyodor!). When I read the Idiot years ago I got most of the way through an early chapter when I realized "ooh, it's an engagement they've been going on and on about this whole time," and I even went onto Sparknotes to make sure I was right. I think the only time I've used Sparknotes outside of high school English or maybe Core Humanities.


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