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Download The Idiot epub

by Richard Pevear,Fyodor Dostoevsky

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Download The Idiot epub
ISBN: 186207593X
ISBN13: 978-1862075931
Category: Literature
Subcategory: Classics
Author: Richard Pevear,Fyodor Dostoevsky
Language: English
Publisher: Granta Books (July 31, 2003)
Pages: 640 pages
ePUB size: 1914 kb
FB2 size: 1930 kb
Rating: 4.9
Votes: 843
Other Formats: doc mobi docx lrf

Wow, okay, so I’m not really sure where to start with this one. I guess right here. First, it is a very powerful novel packed with the ability to elicit an entire spectrum of emotions ranging from love to hate, joy to sorrow, laughter to tears, bliss to horror, gratitude to greed, the list of these ostensibly contradictory extremes of emotions could go on and on; however, wherever and whenever one meets this book, suffice it to say, one is guaranteed to experience all sorts of feelings and emotions that are ever so skillfully and precisely evoked as if by the work of a gifted surgeon. How Dostoevsky accomplishes this feat is stunning. It’s as if he ever so gradually yet specifically chips away at all that appears to stand in the way of each isolated emotion until he reaches its raw essence… and then, it’s on to the next one until he leaves your heart totally exposed, in its virgin state of purity, with absolutely no misconceptions or delusions remaining to continue to hide behind. There’s simply nothing left but to succumb to the power of the moment.

Next, Dostoevsky somehow makes one love each and every one of his characters. All of them are completely believable to me (albeit a bit over the top at times - aren't people like that too?) and it feels like my heart opens for each and every one of them (even the ones that are far less warm, fuzzy, likeable and honorable than I would like them to be) regardless of their sometimes seeming/sometimes blatant deficiencies. I feel a huge heart connection with this book that seems to allow me to better understand and feel compassion for these characters, thereby allowing me to extend this connection to my life and the people in it. It has auspiciously, perhaps even providentially, but most definitely gratefully, aroused a level and depth of compassion that I never knew existed in me.

Subsequently, as an extension of this compassionate heart connection, I am also feeling a tremendous connection with the concepts of honesty and integrity - what that means and how one might incorporate them into one's life. It has been a big awakening for me as I look at my own relationships and notice how even the slightest exaggeration, embellishment or untruth has a tendency to enter before I even realize it. It is definitely something I will continue to watch and it makes me wonder if anyone ever completely comes from a place of total honesty and truth. This place, this space consisting solely of purity and love, of unadulterated potentiality, of complete equanimity, is this what it means to live completely in the moment, to not be affected by beliefs, concepts or pre-programmed responses to incoming stimuli? Is this what it means to experience self-realization, as a totally honest response to all of what life presents one with, regardless of the illusory polarity of each incident? Can one feel and experience life’s full range of emotions without being attached to or influenced by one’s ideas of the “proper” and “appropriate” way to respond? Basically, can a person meet life in each moment with total honesty and truthfulness? I say yes, and I think that these qualities are what Dostoevsky is ultimately attempting to provoke in the reader. These are Christ-like qualities, Buddha-like qualities, and are the qualities that Prince Myshkin possesses throughout this book. Prince Myshkin is a representation of the ideal, of the beauty and innocence that is possible for each and every person in each and every moment. Is he an idiot for being this way, or is it people’s mistaken inability to understand the vast magnitude of his purity and love? If he does represent pure love then what ultimately makes them persecute him so? Fear? Jealousy? Pride? People seem to have a very strong tendency to resist what they do not understand… and this continues only until they do understand…and then… what’s left but to forgive them for they know not what they do.

Ultimately, I could go on and on with my praise for this masterpiece but my words would only pale in comparison to the actual experience of reading it. It is a book that could very well be read and reread yearly throughout one’s life with huge benefit.

To conclude, I absolutely love this book, highly recommend it and encourage all who have a desire to probe and explore its unbounded depths, to read it. It would be an effort more than worthy of the time and energy required to do so.
The Vintage Classics versions of these books are superb. I started with Crime and Punishment when I was a teenager and have, at this point, read all of the novels besides 'The Adolescent'. Partly there's the plain but evocative translation offered by the husband-and-wife team of Pevear and Volokhonsky - I was reading an interview with the couple in the 90's and they recounted a story in which they were visiting with an old Russian lady and they proudly mentioned that they were working on translating Dostoevsky. Her response was something to the effect of "Do you think you'll be able to fix his awful prose?". She meant it seriously. I've read other translations of minor works and novellas, and I generally get lost in them. When there are multiple characters the conversation can be hard to follow- they can say very unexpected things. The internal dialogue might confuse the issue. Minor, almost unnoticeable incidents can sometimes have sudden serious repercussions. There are long, deep conversations sometimes punctuated by quick actions or abrupt endings. Even the character names themselves can sometimes get seriously confused. In all of this one can find themselves hopelessly lost. A good translation helps clear out some of the muddiness and direct the action and though I've had to reread passages occasionally, in these texts, it's because I want to understand more the intent of the characters, or subtext through their speech, not the basic plot points or what they are literally saying. There are some other helps for the reader: There is a list of characters at the beginning of each book which helps more than you might think. Finally, there are clarifying endnotes meticulously added. This should be a major selling point. They add context for a time and place so removed from english speaking modernity. Every little fact is appreciated. Also the prefaces are always a fantastic place to start. Just really well put together. And, of course, the 'vintage classics' line is well constructed for its cost. They last quite a while as paperbacks go, though I did like the heaviness of the paper in the 90s editions even more. The newer versions with the black and white abstract covers seem to have much thinner pages (quite like newspaper) in contrast to the older editions. I'm sure this is to help manage size and weight, and though the cover and binding are strong enough to keep everything protected, I just like the feel of the older novels a bit better.
Although at times a bit tiresome, I was surprised that much of the conversations about politics and religion are appropriate today. Regardless, it's a great story, well developed characters, a hero you can really love and an ending that while not a big surprise, works. The type of book that I will think about again and again. Ten years from I will still remember The Idiot unlike most books which I forget after a week.
I'll be the first to admit that I haven't always been a "fan" of Russian literature in the past and was hesitant to even attempt this 600 page novel. Really surprised, pleasantly surprised at how very "readable" it was. I thought that this translation was very well done and that helped enormously.
Enjoyed it far more than I expected to.
I just both listened to the audible audio version and read the Kindle ebook version, both splendid. The ebook was essential as the search function allowed me to quickly locate the introduction of a character when confusion arose later as the distinctively Russian given name and family name of characters are interchanged liberally throughout the book. The dialog in this book is simply outstanding as the characters are developed so richly. How can one not love child-man prince after he tells the the heart wrenching story of his time in Switzerland while recovery from his illness of the wretched abused peasant girl Marie. Also the detailed description of the thoughts and agony of the condemned man as he awaits execution by the guillotine are frightening real. There are many more intriguing sub-stories and anecdotes to keep the reader wanting more.