Matthew Burr's Reviews > The Gambler

The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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's review
Jun 22, 2008

it was amazing

This book was good, but the critical introduction (which I read after reading the book) to it really helped me to get more out of it. While gambling certainly plays a central role to the whole thing, what is more interesting to me is the various ways people approach the gambling, and the type of "gambling" that goes on in their own day-to-day activities.

However, what appealed to me most was the idea of putting everything on the line in order to reach that exquisite moment when you feel most alive, because you feel your life (or livelihood) to be entirely at risk.

That's what the Gambler is trying to find, and what he ultimately finds in the random chance of a roulette wheel, as he watches that ball bounce around and all of his livelihood is staked on one last bounce of the ball before it settles. Though I've never gambled once, I can understand that underlying feeling, that desire to do something that puts my life and my beliefs up into sharp relief, so that for a moment, I can feel really alive, and I can see what I really value.
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