Saturday, April 7, 2007

The Idiot

Fyodor Dostoevsky 1821-1881

Well, this was a really boring book. I hate to say it, but this is my least favorite of the classics I've read so far and when I become emperor of the world I will probably make it illegal to call it a "classic."
Prince Myshkin rides into St. Petersburg on a train where he meets Rogozhin and the very annoying Ledbedev. Rogozhin is a dark man (get ready for a crapload of Light/Dark imagery) who is on a mission to get the beautiful but scandalous Nastashia Philipovna. Throughout the book people worry that Rogo is going to kill Nastashia, nobody really explains why. Well, turns out Prince Myshkin, the idiot of the title, falls in love with her too. He also falls in love with Princess Myshkin's, a distant relative, daughter, Aglaya. Aglaya is a typical teenager, very annoying and stuck up. She probably would have been on My Super Sweet Sixteen if they had MTV in 1860s Russia. What ensues is a tangled mess of love intrigue, sudden fits of illness and a whole lot of long long long scenes. (See Hippolite's suicide scene). None of the characters save Myshkin are likable. I have no idea why Myshkin is considered strange, he speaks with eloquence, yet everyone seems to know he was an "idiot" before. In the end, people die, some are spurned, some go to jail and some revert to previous mental states. It ends like it began, with Myshkin in Switzerland and me not that interested.

Rating 2/10: An incredibly dull book. The lesson, as always, women drive men crazy, sometimes crazy enough to kill.

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