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Not one of his greater works but one that reveals his adept ability at multi layered characterization The story behind the story is almost as interesting he had to write this on a tight schedule because of his own gambling debts Always an introspective narrator with subtle empathy for an imperfect hero Raskolnikov Dostoyevsky here was able to describe the feelings anxiety and drives of a gambling addict You can be seized in an instant by the forces of addiction and obsession It happened to Dostoyevsky he became addicted to gambling after one impulsive stop at a roulette table and it took place while he already was in the grip of an obsession The object of his obsession the beautiful Apollinaria Suslova one of his students and 20 years his junior This femme fatale appears in various forms in many of Dostoyevsky s novels In The Gambler she is Polina Alexandrovna He s in there too as the narrator Alexis Ivanovitch The crazy intensity of his feelings were perhaps what enabled him to write this book in 26 days And also the fact that if he didn t have a book ready in that time he would have lost all the rights to all of his work He was in middle of writing Crime and Punishment too But Apollinaria took zero interest in his writing Maybe an occasional Zis book steenksThe characters in The Gambler are wonderfully awful Grandmamma is the best of the lotYes it was she rich and imposing and seventy five years of age Antonida Vassilievna Tarassevitcha landowner and grande dame of Moscow the La Baboulenka who had caused so many telegrams to be sent off and received who had been dying yet not dying who had in her own person descended pon s even as snow might fall from the clouds Though nable to walk she had arrived borne aloft in an armchair her mode of conveyance for the last five years as brisk aggressive self satisfied bolt The Icarus Girl upright loudly imperious and generally abusive as everEvery person whom she met she scanned with an inuisitive eye after first of all interrogating me about him or her at the top of her voice She was stout of figure and though she could not leave her chair one felt the moment that one first looked at her that she was also tall of stature Her back was as straight as a board and never did she lean back in her seat Also her large grey head with its keen rugged features remained always erect as she glanced about her in an imperious challenging sort of way with looks and gestures that clearly werenstudied Though she had reached her seventy sixth year her face was still fresh and her teeth had not decayed Lastly she was dressed in a black silk gown and white mobcap The old lady becomes almost instantly addicted to roulette Hilarity ensues The descriptions of the casino and the game are detailed and very real and the commentaries on the various traits of nationality are well interesting Not one of Dostoevsky s greatest works The Gambler was written fast for cash as he had gambling debts so he knew what he was talking about in this one It is not the most developed of his works and I may be somewhat influenced by the stuffy translation and hearing it read via audiotape but there are moments in it that are still great My greatest attraction to it is the autobiographical aspect that Dostoevsky was drawn to gambling and brought to the brink of ruin again and again by it In that sense it is a psychological portrait of his own obsession and anxiety But gamblers know how a man can sit for almost twenty four hours at cards without looking to right or to left It feels somewhat existentialist at times as illusion shame despair and the specter of ruin are always here You ve turned to wood he observed you ve not only renounced life your own interests and society s your duty as a citizen and a human being your friends you ve not only renounced any goal whatsoever apart from winning but you ve even renounced your memories I remember you in an ardent and strong moment of your life but I m sure you ve forgotten all your best impressions then your dreams your most essential desires at present don t go beyond pair and impair rouge noir the twelve middle numbers and so on and so forth I m sure of it Alexey Ivanovitch is a young tutor working in the household of a Russian general He wants to move p in class but his desperation ndermines him This is complicated by an affair he has with the General s niece Polina who is also pursued by other richer guys I wasn t interested at all in the romantic intrigues that took p much of the book I fairly rushed ahead to read the gambling seuences which are great I have some not much experience in casinos and I know a little of the heart racing thrill of stupid risk taking I read James McManus s study of risk taking behavior set in Vegas Positively Fifth Street Murderers Cheetahs and Binion s World Series of Poker I also read Jon Krakauer s study of risk Into the Wild Dostoevsky s nineteenth century story is a kind of classic study of risk taking addiction and of course it s ironic since he identifies the disorder while still addicted Can I possibly not nderstand myself that I m a lost man But why can t I resurrect Yes it only takes being calculating and patient at least once in your life and that s all It only takes being steadfast at least once and in an hour I can change my whole destiny The best character in the book is Alexey s Grandmother "who rages against gambling that is she tries it herself She sort "rages against gambling that is Marie Antoinette until she tries it herself She comically loses everything in the process as if to have Dostoevsky say through her Dear reader you sit smugly on your pompous throne but just try it There are a few such portraits of ruin here but hers is my favorite Nothing could be absurd than moral lessons at such a moment Oh self satisfied people with what proud self satisfaction such babblers are ready totter their pronouncements If they only knew to what degree I myself nderstand all the loathsomeness of my present condition they wouldn t have the heart to teach me Dostoevsky s greatest works are The Brothers Karamazov Crime and Punishment and The Idiot and The Gambler doesn t approach the level of those masterpieces the depths of ruin depicted in those books but it is still a classic I read this primarily because I wanted to look back at the sources for degradation and despair in Dostoevsky for twentieth century noir writers but the three works above are better sources for those experiences than this book But it still has some great moments Can I possibly not nderstand myself that I m a lost man But why can t I resurrect 141It is not just the extraordinary psychological depth of the characters nor the engaging story that masterfully manages the element of surprise This novella had a great impact on me for the simple reason that whenever I read certain passages I saw him His obsessions his fears his passion for. At length I returned from two weeks leave of absence to find that my patrons had arrived three days ago in Roulettenberg I received from them a welcome ite different to that which I had expected The General eyed me coldly greeted me in rather haughty fashion and dismissed me to pay my respects to his sister It was clear that from SOMEWHERE mon. .
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A distant woman his despair Dostoyevsky was there trying to surviveAlexei Ivanovich is a 25 year old tutor that works for a Russian family The General s family that includes Polina the woman Alexei loves They are all living in a suite at some German hotel Besides them there is a bunch of other manipulative self destructing nstable characters Flawed yet colorful at times As with life People that were the inspiration for Dostoyevsky s most amusing remarks filled with fine irony and a tinge of sarcasm Just a tadAlexei is a complete character lovable obnoxious Everything but indifference Pride that vanishes when facing his obsession overly analytical thinking madness cynicism wit honesty franknessIt s really nice when people don t stand on ceremony but act in an open and Beyond Band of Brothers unbuttoned way with each other And why should one deceive oneself It s the most futile and ill calculated occupation 17A frankness that gave me hope He is not the timid character that keeps everything inside I mean I am in love with those characters since they are a mirror to me and let me focus on the many things I need to change But it is nice to see an energetic outspoken character developing theality that one longs forwhen I talk with you I want to say everything everything everything I lose all form Since I have no hope and am a zero in your eyes I say outright I see only you everywhere and the rest makes no difference to me 34A frankness that combined with the particular situation of being madly in love with a woman inspires one of the most The Water Of Life unsettling passages of the novella One that brought to mind all the disgusting justifications that one encounters in lifeThis book screams reality The description of the casino the kinds of gamblers the desire to win the abstraction from the world the eyes fixed on a number an excuse for every act the brief sense of reason after a lost bet and the subseuent hunch that the next one will be the one that saves the dayI was as if in a fever and pushed this whole pile of money onto red and suddenly came to my senses And for the only time that whole evening in all that playing fear sent a chill over me and came back as a trembling in my hands and legs With terror I sensed and instantly realized what it meant for me now to lose My whole life was at stake 111No a day is not saved only by the profits so easily made It is the impulse the craving for risks Despair that drives Chance that sings The feeling that one is in control of the roulette of the next move the elusive luck Praises for the fearless gamblerHowever I don t remember what I thought about on the way there were no thoughts My only sensation was of some terrible pleasure luck victory power I don t know how to express it 114Every chapter every paragraph everything is written with such detail Vivid descriptions about the parallelniverse that inevitably brings disgrace to its inhabitants Citizens that worship daring ventures They can deny it They can lie to themselves as they embrace victory but deep down they are aware of their deteriorating stateNothing could be absurd than moral lessons at such a moment Oh self satisfied people with what proud self satisfaction such babblers are ready to The Year of Living Biblically utter their pronouncements If they only knew to what degree I myselfnderstand all the loathsomeness of my present condition they wouldn t have the heart to teach me Well what what new thing can they say to me that I don t know myself And is that the point What am I now Z ro What may I be tomorrow Tomorrow I may rise from the dead and begin "To Live Anew I May "live anew I may the man in me before he s lost 133An ill fated relationship Our doomed Russian friendBy trying to defeat destiny through gambling he ensured his servitude A slave of everything he loved too much Of everything he hated but still needed The roulette The rge The impulse A womanA brief existence perpetually waiting for fate to change Waiting for another tomorrowDec 13 15 Also on my blog Gambling addiction the great writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky knew too well about this affliction he had to write this short novel very ickly in order to pay for the debts acuired as a result Our story begins in 1866 with passionate Alexei Ivanovich The Gambler an nhappy tutor to retired Russian General Sagorjanski s two young children the formerly rich soldier suandered it all to much high living and reckless spending no matter how wealthy a person is when the money flows out faster than it comes in the inevitable conseuences occur bankruptcy as Benjamin Franklin said it long ago A Fool and his money are soon parted The General receives loans from the mysterious Frenchman the Maruis des Grieux a sophisticated nobleman but has ite a sinister reputation no amount of beautiful manners can hide besides everyone in Roulettenburg Baden Baden Germany a spa and gambling resort town dominated by the casino and the Roulette table dominates that and the desperate visitors inside seem to be a I hope to someday tackle Dostoyevsky s doorstopper novels like Brothers Karamazov Demons but have generally stuck to his shorter work in the past things like Notes from Underground White Nights The Gambler continues this trend The fact it s called The Gambler and is set in a town called Roulettenberg means "It Doesn T Take A Genius To Figure Out The "doesn t take a genius to figure out the at the centre of the novel A game I ve never played because I have zero interest in gambling or casinosSo did this make the novel in anyway appear For the Love of All Thats Holy, Dont Buy a Boat When Venus is in Retrograde uninteresting to me Simple answer no Because there is so much going on on a physiological level within the characters than simply placing bets and spinning the wheel I d say heads get spinned And one thing that didn t surprise me this being Dostoyevsky is that the narrator was a wreck driven by nothing but hope as he lives in a constantiver of anxiety For the most part the tone here is one of sordidness which comes from the comedy of manners that Dostoevsky excels in Humorous just as often as he is gloomy his primp characters in The Gambler spend an inordinate amount of time wracked by self consciousness in a narrative that is driven by an awareness of the distinction between vulgar gambling for money and the kind a gentleman can engage in where the money doesn t matter This work is drooling with the kind of details that one assumes are somewhat autobiographical he wrote this in a ridiculously short space of time in order to cover his many debts and overall I found it an interesting book where the actual gambling came second to the first rate telling of a degenerate
One thing I also noticed it that his characters are recognisable from English or French literature than those who arething I also noticed it that his characters are recognisable from English or French literature than those who are Russian In a way it didn t feel like a Russian novel at all Apart from some of the names of course Who knows just how good this could have been had he made it longer Ey had been acuired I thought I could even detect a certain shamefacedness in the General's glance Maria Philipovna too seemed distraught and conversed with me with an air of detachment Nevertheless she took the money which I handed to her counted it and listened to what I had to tell To luncheon there were expected that day a Monsieur Mezentso. Nd not rushed it But as rushed novels go it s pretty darn good Igrok The Gambler Le Joueur Fyodor DostoyevskyThe Gambler is a short novel by Fyodor Dostoyevsky about a young tutor in the employment of a formerly wealthy Russian general The novella reflects Dostoyevsky s own addiction to roulette which was in ways than one the inspiration for the book Dostoyevsky completed the novella nder a strict deadline to pay off gambling debtsThe first person narrative is told from the point of view of Alexei Ivanovich a tutor working for a Russian family living in a suite at a German hotel The patriarch of the family The General is indebted to the Frenchman de Criet and has mortgaged his property in Russia to pay only a small amount of his debt Upon learning of the illness of his wealthy aunt Grandmother he sends streams of telegrams to Moscow and awaits the news of her demise His expected inheritance will pay his debts and gain Mademoiselle Blanche de Cominges s hand in marriageAlexei is hopelessly in love with Polina the General s stepdaughter She asks him to go to the town s casino and place a bet for her After hesitations he succumbs and ends p winning at the roulette table He returns to her the winnings but she will not tell him the reason she needs money She only laughs in his face as she does when he professes his love and treats him with cold indifference if not downright malice He only learns the details of the General s and Polina s financial state later in the story through his long time acuaintance Mr Astley Astley is a shy Englishman who seems to share Alexei s fondness of Polina He comes from English nobility and has a good deal of money 1327 167 1363 242 1375 19 1327 04041399 40 stars Fyodor Dostoevsky is a phenomenal writer and an icon of Russian literature In this story he has once again written a novel comprised of superb prose The Penguin Atlas of Endangered Species uniue characters and some very insightful comments about the human condition For that this novel deserves nothing less than 4 stars HOWEVER as a native of Las Vegas who has just recently been given the opportunity to read this book after the lifting of the 100 year ban imposed by the State of Nevada on public dissemination of this book I must say that I agree with the Nevada founding fathers that some of the conclusions that Dostoevsky draws about the sin of gambling ARE JUST PLAIN WRONG Hopefully this review will present anbiased opinion of the alternative investment vehicle and time honored source of happiness and pleasure that is the sport of gambling The book starts off great Dostoevsky introduces The Bartender us to the main character of his short novel Alexei Ivanovich and describes him as an intelligent tutor who is working for a Russian family whose patriarch is known as The General Through his attraction to Polina a member of The General s family Alexei finds himself introduced to the game of roulette when he is asked by Polina to place a wager for her at the local casino While placing the wager for Polina Alexei discovers the narcotic bliss that comes with engaging in the sport of gambling So farso good Alexei becomes involved in an extremelynhealthy relationship with Polina in which she is constantly berating him and compelling to take inappropriate actions For example she entices him to get into a verbal altercation with a Baron and Baroness which ends Tono Bungay up having long ranging conseuences for many of the characters in the story In order to deal with the many struggles that Alexei finds himself going through he eventually finds solace in the joys of wagering at the roulette wheel Again so far so good Gambling can be a great escape from life s little troubles However this is where Dostoevsky in my opinion and the opinion of casino executives around the world really departs from reality He portrays Alexei s gambling as being a negative influence on the rest of his life Alexei stops reading and keeping track of current events and becomes single minded in his pursuit of winning at the roulette table In other professional sports this would be called COMMITMENT but Dostoevsky implies that Alexei is obsessed Now it IS true that Ale I wanted to fathom her secrets I wanted her to come to me and say I love you and if not that if that was senseless insanity thenwell what was there to care about Did I know what I wanted I was like one demented all I wanted was to be near her in the halo of her glory in her radiance always for ever all my life I knew nothing At that point I ought to have gone away but a strange sensation rosep in me a sort of defiance of fate a desire to challenge it to put out my tongue at it I laid down the
largest stake allowed four thousand gulden and lost it Then getting hot I pulled out all I had left stakedstake allowed four thousand gulden and lost it Then getting hot I pulled out all I had left staked on the same number and lost again after which I walked away from the table as though I were stunned I could not even grasp what had happened to me The greatest of the greats demonstrates in the most elouent bitter and acute manner the whirlwind On the second reading I m forced to change my entire opinion on this book This was my introduction to Dostoevsky I didn t know at first what to expect Unfortunately I read that this is not one of the best works by him All must have influenced my perspective on the book But after falling in love with Dostoevsky I wanted to revisit the book to see if I had done justice to it On this revisit I realized that I have not done enough justice to the book It is an interesting story It talks about addiction obsession frustration anger arrogance the human vices that threatens the sanity and peace of the human mind The story s protagonist is Alexey Ivanovitch a tutor by profession and a gambling addict His addiction coupled with his obsession of Polina the stepdaughter of the Russian General in whose household he had employed himself as a tutor makes him an emotional slave which slowly leads to his ruination I enjoyed Dostoyevsky s psychological portrait of the main protagonist Alexey His conflicting emotions wavering between his addiction and obsession was so thoroughly and accurately described Dostoyevsky s own gambling addiction must have helped him with such accuracy It made the character real and the reader feels sympathy for him Even in the other characters Dostoyevsky does a wonderful job of bringing out their characteristics and emotions so well Polina s enigmatic self "Blanche S Shallowness De "s shallowness De s cunning nature the General s depression coupled with his obsessive love and even Mr Astley s steadfastness add contrast and color to the storyThe ending is vague but promising The author raises hope of Alexey finding his former self with his new gained knowledge on Polina s feelings towards him Overall I enjoyed this interesting short work by Dostoevsky Undeniably he is one of the greatest story tellers in the literary world. V a French lady and an Englishman; for whenever money was in hand a banuet in Muscovite style was always given Polina Alexandrovna on seeing me inuired why I had been so long away Then without waiting for an answer she departed Evidently this was not mere accident and I felt that I must throw some light Magical Sweet Mermaid upon matters It was high time that I did.