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I also liked the story of her love with the guy that read.

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Poor Folk. I very much liked the appendix as well. A beautiful memory. I too had hallucinations as a child just to note it somewhere. I wanted this to be in my private notes, but realized that it has such a limited amount of characters, I hope my past notes that I copied from here to the other section weren't accidentally shortened because of that. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

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To view it, click here. I am not too fond of novels written in a series of letters to characters, as I feel too much information is left out and if it is all told in the letter, it seems forced. In addition to liking character descriptions, having to rely on a character's skewed view point made me doubtful of their truth.

The ending was also a bit underwhelming. Overall, it was 'tolerable'. Oct 03, Daniel Terbush rated it really liked it. Very different from the later and longer works. Primarily a series of stories concerning his fellow prisoners and unique events that occurred. My favorite passage is the scenes concerning the Christmas plays the convicts organized. Feb 05, Kevin rated it did not like it. This was one of the worst books I've ever read, pure torture.

Poor Folk was ok, but House of the Dead was utterly depressing and awful. More like a diary than a story.

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Nov 08, Emreusdurmus rated it it was amazing. Another classic of dostoyevsky during his so called ". Jun 19, Andy rated it liked it. This is an interesting book which follows Dostoevsky's time in a Siberian labor camp. It doesn't really have a story-line, so much as its a series of recollections and anecdotes. This book often goes on tangents, and Dostoevsky feels entirely free to do so. For example, several chapters on his time in the hospital are mostly about corporal punishment. In his novels and stories Dostoevsky often described states of utter destitution and squalor in detail, this book is no exception.

He describes in This is an interesting book which follows Dostoevsky's time in a Siberian labor camp. He describes in grueling detail the oppressive heat in their barracks, the swarms of fleas and lice, the thin porridge swimming with cockroaches. One of the more memorable scenes was when they go to a bathhouse.

Men are crowded in so tightly there's nowhere to stand, filth two inches deep lines the floor, the heat is hellish. Yet through it all most of the men are vain and proud. The brutishness of some of the men is probably best shown in the chapter "Akulka's Husband" -- a horrific account of deception, betrayal, wife-beating and brutal murder told in an entirely flippant manner.


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Despite this many, if not most of the men are good souls. The men have ways of finding solace -- many find trades, whether it's skinning dogs to make boots or sneaking vodka into the prison. Most of them build up their money supply for months, then blow it in one night of drunken carousing. Two other memorable scenes are the Christmas feast, and the play they put on afterward.

The hardest part of all for the narrator was the isolation he feels from the other men around him. I found both of these stories to be explicit word pictures of life in 19th century Russia, whether in the Siberian Prison Camp or in Petersburg. Both paint dismal pictures of that life. The poor folk of Russia surely led very hard lives. Life was dismal at best yet they survived. I was interested in the class structure that still existed, even in the prison camp. I would have thought that the peasants would have given the aristocrat a harder time in prison because now he is on the same level as I found both of these stories to be explicit word pictures of life in 19th century Russia, whether in the Siberian Prison Camp or in Petersburg.

I would have thought that the peasants would have given the aristocrat a harder time in prison because now he is on the same level as they are and they could "lord" it over him. They didn't. They still viewed themselves as below him. That ingrained social structure was obviously stronger than I would have imagined. The protagonist, presumably Fyodor himself, was not subjected to as much punishment as he describes on the others.

At least he does not mention it if he was.

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It rather reminded me of my time in the Army, on a minuscule scale, where my married, B. I really felt for Virinka in Poor Folk that she ultimately had to settle for a loveless marriage in order to secure her future. Her new husband appeared to be a total control freak who would abuse her if she ever dared to oppose him. I gave the combo book a four star because even though I found the book to be stimulating, it never captured me.

Fyodor writes too much detail which was common among 19th century novelists but is definitely not my preferred style of writing. He could put the same message across with a fraction of the detail. Perhaps the detail cements the idea of how bleak and miserable were their lives because it is bleak and miserable for us to read it. Mar 03, Frankie rated it really liked it Shelves: russian.

What always strikes me about The House of the Dead is the journalistic style. You don't see much of it from Dostoevsky, though I am looking forward to his Writer's Diary that I recently purchased.

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The succession of the plot is told, not by dated entries, but by topic — ie, "The Bathhouse," "Prison Animals," "An Escape," etc. This allows him to divulge varying lessons and even psychological analogies on every facet of the prison experience. The psychology of each character, convict or officer, is What always strikes me about The House of the Dead is the journalistic style. The psychology of each character, convict or officer, is so well developed and observed it surpasses any character type of his previous writings.


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  7. This work marks a clear turning point in his career. Unfortunately, the censorship effected many details of the published form. Phrases like "in the recent but so remote past" and the apology note introducing chapter 3 of "The Hospital" were forced in by censors to soften the blame on the prison system of that day.

    Poor Folk , though stylistically underdeveloped, is a warm and realistic portrayal of a lower class couple. They're not a conventional couple and their circumstances are not typical either. In fact, due to their age difference and class distinctions they're driven apart.

    It's simplicity and correspondence-narration give it a personal aspect and fictional liberty. Dostoevsky does very little in this vein later in his career. The "prodigy" praise garnered by this work comes from his uniquely unguarded display of poverty, most of which can be traced back to Gogol's Overcoat. Sep 21, Matt rated it liked it. Both of these stories are early works by Dostoevsky and I can tell he hadn't "found himself" yet.

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    These books are not good places to jump in to reading his work. These novels did have their moments though. In Poor Folk, I sympathized with the main character and felt what he was going through. House of the Dead was worthwhile because it was basically autobiographical because the author served four years in a Siberian prison for being involved in an underground utopian group.

    That story follows a fictional character who is serving time in a similar prison, and you see what Dostoevsky probably dealt with while he was in prison. It was insightful of the horrors and personal demons Dostoevsky must have had. Recommended, but read Crime and Punishment first to get a truer feeling for what Dostoevsky can do. Happy reading, and Merry Christmas everyone! Jul 22, Sydney rated it liked it. And not even a polished, organized-narrative-arc kind of memoir—more like a series of conversations in which a friend tells you in great detail about his experience.

    This may sound good, but I'm trying to say that, on the whole, it's a bit boring. There is little character and less plot. Well, there are a lot of vivid characters, but most pop up only once or twice in an anecdotal kind of way.

    And even the anecdotes have very little story to them. I suppose it is an interesting look at Russian prisons, but as far as art or entertainment value, it's lacking. What's interesting here is the characters and their relationships—to their poverty, to society, and to each other—and how being thus oppressed can skew your view of reality and of the consequences of your actions.

    Sep 04, B rated it really liked it. The book was great, or shall I say the both stories were great. I have to admit it took me longer to read because The House of the Dead portion, was very detailed. If you wanted a picture of what a Siberian labor camp was like, trust me you'll get your fill. At times I found it hard to keep reading for long spurts of time.