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Julian Meynell's Books

I like Books.

The Idiot

The Idiot - Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Constance Garnett, Joseph Frank, Anna Brailovsky I had a strange reading experience with this book. I was greatly enjoying it, but it was not coming together as a unified whole for me. I had a similar experience with the Brothers Karamazov and then suddenly about 2/3 of the way through, the book just gelled and I instantly knew that it was going to be one of my favorite books.

Dostoevsky is incapable of writing a word that is not in some way or other interesting. His characters and observations are fascinating. In a note on his translation, my translator says that the Dostoevsky's language is perceived as perverse by native Russians. There is something perverse about all his writing, the situations, the characters, the conversations and the plot. Dostoevsky takes you places other writers simply will not go. The more I read him, the more I think that there are some things about people, that Dostoevsky knew that no one before or since has ever known.

There is something about his writing that leaves me at a loss for words and makes me feel that I have nothing whatsoever to say of interest in regards to his books.

Dostoevsky always aims incredibly high in what he is trying to accomplish and mostly hits his mark. I wish that the current generation of writers was as ambitious as him.

The book spoke to me deeply, which is not necessarily a good thing for a Dostoevsky novel to do. The best book I've read in several years.

Clearly one of the greatest books ever written.

Update: I have been having a conversation with this book. It has been saying to me; "Are you sure, I'm not your favorite book?" and I've been saying "No. No. That's Wuthering Heights." and it's been saying "Are you sure?" Yesterday I gave in and said "You're right. I love you. You are the finest piece of fiction of all time."

I've learnt more about myself, about other people, about the meaning-of-life and about how the universe actually works from this book than any other work of fiction I have ever read. At some point I want to come back to it and read it carefully and try to say something coherent about it.