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Books Read in 2017-2018 > White Nights - Spoilers

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message 1: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Please use this thread to discuss the book freely!


message 2: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
"White Nights" (Russian: Белые ночи, Belye nochi) is a short story by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, originally published in 1848, early in the writer's career.

Like many of Dostoyevsky's stories, "White Nights" is told in first person by a nameless narrator; the narrator is living in Saint Petersburg and suffers from loneliness. He gets to know and falls in love with a young woman, but the love remains unrequited as the woman misses her lover with whom she is finally reunited.

Taken from Wikipedia.


Kelly_Hunsaker_reads ... I finished.

My review: (5 stars)

I love Russian literature for its deep yearning, for its honest and open exploration of the human existence. I love Russian literature for the longing that it puts in my heart, for the emotional depth in every word. I love Russian literature because it transcends country and time, and simply speaks to the heart. And Dostoyevsky is one of my favorites because he writes characters who are vivid and completely real. He writes about people I know. He writes about me.

And this short book is such a lovely exploration of loneliness. The unnamed protagonist - the narrator - loves openly and shares it despite his knowledge that the love is not returned. And while this scenario is often a bit whiny here it is warm and sweet and relatable. The man is a dreamer and he isn't trying to change. He seems to think that his dreams will act as a substitute to the real thing.

“I am a dreamer. I know so little of real life that I just can’t help re-living such moments as these in my dreams, for such moments are something I have very rarely experienced. I am going to dream about you the whole night, the whole week, the whole year.”

This book speaks to me because it deals with a sweet, kind, loving and very lonely man. It allows me to feel what he feels, and it allows me to feel all of those emotions that I so often bottle up inside myself.


message 4: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Literally just finished. For such a short story, it definitely packed a big punch.

As I was reading, I already knew how it would end and it was really making me sad. The main character (the narrator who is never mentioned by name, something that Dostoevsky did a lot in his writing) was so likable and endearing you just knew he was headed for heartbreak. But alas, the ending puts the reader in better spirits and hopefulness "May your sky be clear, may your sweet smile be bright and untroubled, and may you be blessed for that moment of blissful happiness which you gave to another, lonely and grateful heart. My God, a whole moment of happiness! Is that too little for the whole of a man's life?"


Shirley (stampartiste) | 11 comments I just finished this little story last night. Although I felt that the narrator probably enjoyed dreaming about love as much as he enjoyed experiencing it, the story still left me sad that he was too fearful or shy to want more out of life.

I agree with you, Kelly. Russian authors are truly the masters at eliciting pathos in their characters!


message 6: by Piyangie (new)

Piyangie | 436 comments I was really struck at how it began. The young narrator says how he is familiar with his surroundings and people around him. Yet in the big city he is living, he is all alone; no one is there who is close to his heart. This is a truth in so many of our lives, to some extent.
From the moment I read this opening paragraphs, I knew this book is going to have a precious place in my heart.


message 7: by Loretta, Moderator (last edited Apr 15, 2018 08:53AM) (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Piyangie wrote: "I was really struck at how it began. The young narrator says how he is familiar with his surroundings and people around him. Yet in the big city he is living, he is all alone; no one is there who i..."

I agree Piyangie and Shirley! "The loneliness is palpable". 😕


message 8: by John (new)

John Piyangie wrote: "The young narrator says how he is familiar with his surroundings and people around him. Yet in the big city he is living, he is all alone; no one is there who is close to his heart...."

I completely empathized with the narrator.

Felt it before. Feel it still sometimes. Loneliness without being alone.


message 9: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
John wrote: "Piyangie wrote: "The young narrator says how he is familiar with his surroundings and people around him. Yet in the big city he is living, he is all alone; no one is there who is close to his heart..."

Yes John! Exactly!


message 10: by Laurene (new)

Laurene | 3 comments I have mixed emotions about this novel. I loved the writing -- the flow, the imagery and the character development. Loved how the narrator described himself as a dreamer. He was a dreamer that only dreamed of being in a relationship because of his shyness. But he was not too shy to get involved with a complete stranger -- give a letter to another complete stranger. The narrator falls in love with a women --who he knows is in love with someone else. Is it the woman he falls in love with or is it the idea/dream of the relationship he falls in love with. I loved how the novel ended -- "May your sky be clear, may your sweet smile be bright and unburdened, and may you be blessed for that moment of blissful happiness which you gave to another, lonely and grateful heart! My God, a whole moment of happiness!" I am hoping since he over came his shyness this once, he moves on and puts himself out there. And get's involve in a relationship he truly deserves.


message 11: by Loretta, Moderator (last edited Apr 19, 2018 05:48AM) (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Laurene wrote: "I have mixed emotions about this novel. I loved the writing -- the flow, the imagery and the character development. Loved how the narrator described himself as a dreamer. He was a dreamer that only..."

Fyodor Dostoyevsky's writing is something Laurene! There are many members here that feel the same way we do.

Excellent insight on the book. I'm glad you enjoyed it! 😊


message 12: by Laurene (new)

Laurene | 3 comments Kelly wrote: "I finished.

My review: (5 stars)

I love Russian literature for its deep yearning, for its honest and open exploration of the human existence. I love Russian literature for the longing that it put..."


Loved your comments!


message 13: by Laurene (new)

Laurene | 3 comments Loretta wrote: "Laurene wrote: "I have mixed emotions about this novel. I loved the writing -- the flow, the imagery and the character development. Loved how the narrator described himself as a dreamer. He was a d..."

Thank you for suggesting it!


message 14: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Laurene wrote: "Loretta wrote: "Laurene wrote: "I have mixed emotions about this novel. I loved the writing -- the flow, the imagery and the character development. Loved how the narrator described himself as a dre..."

☺️


message 15: by Loretta, Moderator (new)

Loretta | 3971 comments Mod
Any other thoughts, comments? 😊


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