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The Double - Dostoevsky

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message 1: by Joe (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:53PM) (new)

Joe | 12 comments Mod
I'm currently reading The Double by Dostoevsky translated by Larissa Volokhonsky and Richard Pevear.
The novella is Dostoevsky's second, and attracted me because of its almost sci-fi like presise: a mid-level civil servant encounters an almost perfect double, a doppleganger, who begins to supplant him in every aspect of his life. (wowee!) The book is captivating and tense; the main character is quite nuerotic (like a 19th century Larry David who's not funny) and his pattern of speech is intentionally confusing (dostoevsky was a master of defining characters by their speech).
I am a little confused by the plot of the book, and am unsure if it's due to lack of explanation or lack of reading skills. I know that the main character has some sort of intrigue with his "enemies" but I'm never sure what it is. Has anyone else read it who could help explain?
I'm conflicted on what to think about the translation. It flows very well and does not sound akward, but I don't like their use of the word "sir" to denote the use of the formal you that exists in russian (I don't think it's analagous).


message 2: by Hamish (new)

Hamish | 11 comments it's been a while since i've read it, but if i recall correctly, you're never explicitly told what the conflict is and just sort of remains vague. it's possible it doesn't even actually exist. probably to highlight the patheticness of the protagonist.


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