The book contains five stories translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky and an introduction by Richard Pevear. The Eternal Husband is 150 pages. The other four stories are short. They are good examples of the writings and the literary techniques of Dostoevsky including the use of dreams.
I have read most of Dostoevsky's major novels. There are about 10 or so available in English, and the present collection is not a substitute for reading the other works. I still like The Gambler and The Brothers Karamazov as his two most interesting works, followed by The Idiot, Crime and Punishment, and Demons. Perhaps The Gambler is not his best work, but it was the first one that I had read. He wrote it with his second wife in 30 days. The Gambler is a short but entertaining - and reflects Dostoevsky`s addiction to gambling. The present works are similar to Notes From the Underground, but less intense, less creative, and more varied in subject matter.
The Eternal Husband involves an extra-marital affair by the male protagonist with a married woman and the subsequent relationship between the man, Velchaninov, and the husband, Pavel Pavlovich. The story is set years later after the death of the wife and uses a dream sequence near the beginning. It reflects a love triangle situation found in his other writings and is loosely related to the circumstances of Dostoevsky`s first marriage, although not identical.
Another story is The Dream of a ridiculous Man. Dostoevsky uses the dream sequences as a vehicle to tell a utopian story about an ideal society. Again, the dream is a literary mechanism used by Dostoevsky. This is related to the short but unusual story Bobok. It is set in a cemetery where the dead are holding conversations. The characters use flights of fancy, dreams, and communicate with the dead. The dead characters lack morals, even dead.
The other two stories, A Nasty Anecdote and The Meek One, are more conventional stories. The first involves an official who accidentally attends the wedding of a poor government worker, a man who works in his department. The official drinks too much and causes much commotion and embarrasses the groom and the wedding party. In short, he makes a fool of himself. Dostoevsky touches on his themes of the disintegration of human life and the use of the "unexpected" gathering to expose false ideas and situations.
The Meek One is about a man who is trying to deal with the suicide of his wife. Again, the story is short. But, he uses the "stream of consciousness" technique - possibly one of the first uses of the technique in the modern literature according to Pevear - years before Joyce.
5 stars and a surprisingly good selection of short stories.