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The House of the Dead/Poor Folk

4.03  ·  Rating details ·  1,445 ratings  ·  37 reviews
The House of the Dead and Poor Folk, by Fyodor Dostoevsky, is part of the Barnes & Noble Classics series, which offers quality editions at affordable prices to the student and the general reader, including new scholarship, thoughtful design, and pages of carefully crafted extras. Here are some of the remarkable features of Barnes & Noble Classics:
All editions are beautiful
Paperback, 443 pages
Published April 25th 2004 by Barnes Noble Classics (first published 1861)
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Average rating 4.03  · 
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 ·  1,445 ratings  ·  37 reviews

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Sep 20, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a fantastic novel. Dostoevsky writes with such detail making his experiences in a Russian prison very vivid and real. The only reason I didn't give it five stars is because he often lost me with all of his long tangents and plethora of characters and their individual stories. But I would definitely read it again. ...more
Mike Avanti
Sep 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
I read this in segments, starting with Poor Folk and then moving to The House of the Dead; it follows Dostoevsky’s chronology. With this reading you begin to understand the moving forces behind his development as an author.

Written in the epistolary form Poor Folk tells the story of a young girl and an older gentleman who develop an interesting relationship. The dialogue seems redundant at times but shows the early workings of a Dostoevsky pining for Russian literary greatness. Although before hi
Nov 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Dostoyevski may have started the prison novel and I have read so many of them. Yes i know it's strange to think now, but one of the greatest writers ever was considered a felon, a criminal. It's hard to imagine that in this current literary landscape.

Anyway, Dos was imprisoned for being a rebel and sent to Siberia. House of The Dead comes from this experience. And what an experience it is.

It reveals into The Human Condition that only the Master, Dostoyevski can conjure up.

For some reason, this b
May 14, 2008 rated it it was amazing
I didn't read Poor Folk, but House of the Dead is awesome!! I read it for a Soviet Lit class. I <3 Dostoevsky :) ...more
Nick Riso
Apr 20, 2016 rated it it was amazing
For HOD, it's well written, covers a multitude of themes within Siberian prison camp life and is mostly about Dostoevsky's own personal accounts. How can't this be regarded as 5 stars? ...more
Sep 24, 2020 rated it really liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Apr 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Shelves: russians
"Some people think that if convicts are well fed and well kept and all the requirements of the law are satisfied, that is all that is necessary. This is an error, too. Everyone, whoever he may be and however down-trodden he may be, demands--though perhaps instinctively, perhaps unconsciously--respect for his dignity as a human being. The convict knows himself that he is a convict, an outcast, and knows his place before this commanding officer; but by no branding, no fetters will you make him for ...more
Aug 25, 2018 rated it really liked it
The House of the Dead: Horrid, but also beautiful and human, it can be found simply in the last chapter. I was able to feel the glory of freedom after captivation. And how understandable it is to feel such emotion when leaving a place you've been for years, however miserably. A beautiful effort, Dostoevsky's tribute to his time in prison. Years passed. True that those in jail are those who would most use the energy that dies away in captivity, and how sad that is. And yes, who to blame? Absolute ...more
Jul 30, 2019 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Kathy by: Barnes and Nobles
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Brandon Longwell
Feb 21, 2020 rated it it was amazing
I believe Dostoevsky will always be one of my favorite authors. His voice in writing (through these Garnett translations anyway) is like hearing long soulful tales from an old man speaking candidly. Often times carried away by the degeneracy of a person through dire situations of society, but always clarifying the sorrow each person goes through and blessing them for taking on such a burden in life.
Celine Jewell
Jan 10, 2021 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
While I liked the House of the Dead for what it was, it lacked something for me. Something that I found in the accompanying novel in this bind up, Poor Folk. What a lovely book. For reference, The Idiot and White Nights are couple of favorites of mine. Poor Folk really showcases FD’s potential and I don’t understand why it gets the hate that it does. I have flat out heard people say that his first works were bad. They couldn’t be more wrong. I would say this one is on the same level as The Adole ...more
Daniel Terbush
Oct 03, 2019 rated it really liked it
I read The House Of The Dead only. Very different from the later and longer works. Primarily a series of stories concerning his fellow prisoners and unique events that occurred. My favorite passage is the scenes concerning the Christmas plays the convicts organized.
Dani Jameson
Jan 19, 2020 rated it it was ok
This book is just not for me. I was looking to read a story and this is more a depiction of Siberian prison life that is both honest and probably accurate. It's just not a book I could immerse myself in. ...more
Feb 05, 2018 rated it did not like it
This was one of the worst books I've ever read, pure torture. Poor Folk was ok, but House of the Dead was utterly depressing and awful. More like a diary than a story. ...more
Muhammet  Emre  Durmuş
Nov 08, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Another classic of dostoyevsky during his so called " ...more
Jun 19, 2013 rated it liked it
This is an interesting book which follows Dostoevsky's time in a Siberian labor camp. It doesn't really have a story-line, so much as its a series of recollections and anecdotes. This book often goes on tangents, and Dostoevsky feels entirely free to do so. For example, several chapters on his time in the hospital are mostly about corporal punishment.

In his novels and stories Dostoevsky often described states of utter destitution and squalor in detail, this book is no exception. He describes in
Rex Cluff
Dec 09, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I found both of these stories to be explicit word pictures of life in 19th century Russia, whether in the Siberian Prison Camp or in Petersburg. Both paint dismal pictures of that life. The poor folk of Russia surely led very hard lives. Life was dismal at best yet they survived. I was interested in the class structure that still existed, even in the prison camp. I would have thought that the peasants would have given the aristocrat a harder time in prison because now he is on the same level as ...more
Mar 03, 2009 rated it really liked it
Shelves: russian
What always strikes me about The House of the Dead is the journalistic style. You don't see much of it from Dostoevsky, though I am looking forward to his Writer's Diary that I recently purchased. The succession of the plot is told, not by dated entries, but by topic – ie, "The Bathhouse," "Prison Animals," "An Escape," etc. This allows him to divulge varying lessons and even psychological analogies on every facet of the prison experience. The psychology of each character, convict or officer, is ...more
Sep 21, 2014 rated it liked it
I read both the House of the Dead and Poor Folk in this dual B&N Classic Edition. Both of these stories are early works by Dostoevsky and I can tell he hadn't "found himself" yet. These books are not good places to jump in to reading his work. I started with Crime & Punishment and suggest starting there for anyone interested in reading Dostoevsky. These novels did have their moments though. In Poor Folk, I sympathized with the main character and felt what he was going through. House of the Dead ...more
Jul 22, 2019 rated it liked it
The House of the Dead: ★★☆☆☆ (7/14/19)
For something that calls itself a work of fiction, this reads awfully like a memoir. And not even a polished, organized-narrative-arc kind of memoir—more like a series of conversations in which a friend tells you in great detail about his experience. This may sound good, but I'm trying to say that, on the whole, it's a bit boring. There is little character and less plot. (Well, there are a lot of vivid characters, but most pop up only once or twice in an ane
Sep 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
The book was great, or shall I say the both stories were great. I have to admit it took me longer to read because The House of the Dead portion, was very detailed. If you wanted a picture of what a Siberian labor camp was like, trust me you'll get your fill. At times I found it hard to keep reading for long spurts of time.

The second story Poor Folk, I loved the layout. The format of letters I found was appealing, I think you can imagine yourself pouring your sentiments into a letter and hoping t
Sep 12, 2010 rated it it was amazing
The House of the Dead is a semi-autobiographical accounting of his time in the Siberian prison. While many of the stories, experiences, and even the people are true-to-life, Dostoevsky created a fictional narrator, Alexandr Petrovich, who is serving ten years for murdering his wife. By creating a fictional character, Dostoevsky was able to insert biting political and social commentary into his writing; quite the brave thing to do after he had already been imprisoned for disagreeing with the gove ...more
Oct 10, 2009 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2010
It took me a long time to read the house of the dead. I finished it last year, and have yet to move on to poor folk. I remember liking the house of the dead, but of course i like all dostoevsky.

I'm not quite sure how I felt about Poor Folk. I couldn't relate to a lot of it, but some parts were quite heart rending (if that's the right phrase)

I really liked the story in the Appendix though. It was written by Dostoevsky about an experience he had. It was short, but interesting to read something aut
May 03, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Picked up Dostoevsky this past year. After reading a few books only one thing has stuck with me. That happiness, no matter how intense, is superficial and momentary. It is only a matter of time before reality sets in, before the flaws and defects of the world envelop everything. If true, maybe Dante got it wrong. Maybe he overlooked the question of how God fearing people are to reconcile their belief in God's wisdom and goodness with the tragedy of human life. Maybe he missed something. Maybe th ...more
Jul 09, 2011 rated it liked it
I do not recommend the translator Constance Garnett, but the two stories in this book act as a modest introduction to Dostoevsky. The House of the Dead lacks action because it reads like a concentration camp novel as it describes the prison camps during Tsarist Russia. Poor Folk was Dostoevsky's first story which comes in epistolary form. Neither are exceptionally outstanding works, but they do make one appreciate Feodor's other writings more. ...more
Mar 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: misc, 19th-century
The House of the Dead is quite similar to Solzhenitsyn's One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich. While the latter told of only one day in the labor camp, the former relates an entire year's existence in that environment. It is interesting to learn of the prisoner's mental and emotional changes as his term plays out. The privations in this book did not seem quite so extreme as in Ivan Denisovich. This is a real insight into 19th century Russia. ...more
Dec 01, 2010 rated it really liked it
A bleak but in ways, morally uplifitng look at life in a Siberian prison. Dostoyevsky wrote in fiction about his real life experiences as a political prisoner. Obviously, this is not light reading but it is absolutely one of Dostoyevsky's most accessible stories. I will return to read Poor Folk at some other point. ...more
Jan 03, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I give Dead house a 5 and Poor Folk a 3. So it ends up as a 4. You can see the radical development of Dostoyevsky by reading both of these books. Poor Folk was written before he was in Russian Goulog, and Dead house was after. Regardless he is a masterful writer even in Poor Folk. But Dead House set a genre of Goulog Literature.
William Johnson
Aug 14, 2016 rated it liked it
The House of the Dead is a bleak account of life in the Tsarist Gulags based on Dostoyevsky's own experiences; if anything, it certainly puts a brief stint in rehab into perspective. Poor Folk is a worthwhile read from an academic point of view - being his first published work - however, it fails to compare to the later greats such as Crime and Punishment, The Brothers Karamazov, etc. ...more
Derek Masuda
Nov 26, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I enjoyed The House of the Dead quite a bit. The concept of the prisoner is timeless and there are many parallels between the penal system in Dostoyevsky's Russia and contemporary society. My favorite quote from the book: "The prisoner is a great dreamer".

I'm looking forward to reading other Dostoyevsky books such as Notes From Underground or The Double.
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Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoevsky was born in Moscow in 1821. His debut, the epistolary novella Poor Folk (1846), made his name. In 1849 he was arrested for involvement with the politically subversive 'Petrashevsky circle' and until 1854 he lived in a convict prison in Omsk, Siberia. From this experience came The House of the Dead (1860-2). In 1860 he began the journal Vremya (Time). Already married, ...more

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