THE IDIOT by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Aw man this was a good book. Long as hell but good. And this copy I read from felt good in my hands, like the material of the book was dense and smooth. Made it comfortable to hold and get through.

The Idiot follows a prince who returns to Russia at age 27. He’s also about to inherit some money. Previously, he was getting treatment for being deemed an idiot and was now mostly okay. People around him think he’s dumb but also wise. Really honest and decent. He is definitely a passionate and overexcited type of guy. He gets involved in a lot of interpersonal matters over the course of the book.

The prince meets the main love interest on the first day basically. He sees Nastasya’s photo and then she shows up at the front door of where he’s visiting. He is in love with her beauty and her wildness and she likes him too but she’s a mess. She later agrees to marry him on a whim, leaving the guy who she’s with who is a killer and will likely kill her, only to cancel on the prince minutes later and leave with the other guy.

Fyodor Dostoevsky sets up concept of looming horror in the beginning when the prince starts talking about how he saw a public execution. How he thought it was a more terrible death–to know it’s planned. That when you die randomly at least you have the hope that you’ll survive whatever thing is killing you. You don’t wake up that day feeling the weight of your life. You don’t have dire final moments knowing for sure you’re about to be killed.

There are a lot of small deaths and almost deaths like that in The Idiot. Leading up to both engagements (they get together again at the end and Nastasya leaves him again), the prince faces the shock of disappointment. He trusts her word both times and she just mixes him off. Damn. I definitely found myself most interested when she was in the room tho. She’s chaotic as hell but you still hope she’ll act right for the prince.

Best line: In short, she was suffering from a kind of romantic spell which was unworthy of her commonsense and her generous heart. -Fyodor Dostoevsky p 73

-Rachel Wagner

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