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The Gambler, Bobok, A Nasty Story: WITH Bobok (Classics) Paperback – 27 May 2004

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Product details

  • Paperback: 256 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New Impression edition (27 May 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140441794
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140441796
  • Product Dimensions: 13.1 x 1.6 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 715,768 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow in 1821, the second of a physician's seven children. His mother died in 1837 and his father was murdered a little over two years later. When he left his private boarding school in Moscow he studied from 1838 to 1843 at the Military Engineering College in St Petersburg, graduating with officer's rank. His first story to be published, 'Poor Folk' (1846), was a great success.

In 1849 he was arrested and sentenced to death for participating in the 'Petrashevsky circle'; he was reprieved at the last moment but sentenced to penal servitude, and until 1854 he lived in a convict prison at Omsk, Siberia. In the decade following his return from exile he wrote The Village of Stepanchikovo (1859) and The House of the Dead (1860). Whereas the latter draws heavily on his experiences in prison, the former inhabits a completely different world, shot through with comedy and satire.

In 1861 he began the review Vremya (Time) with his brother; in 1862 and 1863 he went abroad, where he strengthened his anti-European outlook, met Mlle Suslova, who was the model for many of his heroines, and gave way to his passion for gambling. In the following years he fell deeply in debt, but in 1867 he married Anna Grigoryevna Snitkina (his second wife), who helped to rescue him from his financial morass. They lived abroad for four years, then in 1873 he was invited to edit Grazhdanin (The Citizen), to which he contributed his Diary of a Writer. From 1876 the latter was issued separately and had a large circulation. In 1880 he delivered his famous address at the unveiling of Pushkin's memorial in Moscow; he died six months later in 1881. Most of his important works were written after 1864: Notes from Underground (1864), Crime and Punishment (1865-6), The Gambler (1866), The Idiot (1869), The Devils (1871) and The Brothers Karamazov (1880).

Product Description

About the Author

Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow in 1821, the 2nd of 7 children. From 1849 to 1854 he lived in a convict prison, and in later years his passion for gambling led him deeply into debt. In 1880 he delivered his famous address at theunveiling of Pushkin's memorial in Moscow; he died six months later in 1881.

Jessie Coulson has also translated Notes from Undergound for the Penguin Classics.

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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By sunsoul on 5 Aug. 2006
Format: Paperback
This is very easy to read. Probably the most accessible book by Dostoevsky that I have come across thus far, so a good way into his works I think.

The text is well-paced, with a good narrative and clear character structure (always one of his strengths). The storyline is interesting, with the central character encountering dark desires that seem to take him to the brink of disaster, and his companions around him also heading towards impending doom and catastrophe - there really is no time to breathe while reading this!

Dostoevsky weaves his magic by making each character have a secret side that you can only glimpse at, thereby creating the desire for the reader to want to find out more about everyone, and get to the heart of matters. A true master at work.

My one small criticism would be that although Dostoevsky finishes the book well, I felt it ended a shade early, it seemed to be somewhat unfinished to me. He was under a lot of pressure to complete this novel, and perhaps it shows near the end.

All in all, a great book though.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on 1 Feb. 1999
Format: Paperback
The time and social structure may have changed but the gambling is the same. Dostoyevsky's magnificent description of the changing fortunes of gamblers in a 19th century spa town could just as well have been set in 20th century Las Vegas. All gamblers will recognise at least some of themselves in the logic defying behaviour of the protagonist.
Bobok and A Nasty Story nowhere near as good as The Gambler.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 6 reviews
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Some of Dostoevsky's Finest 17 Feb. 2000
By la - Published on
Format: Paperback
Those who would read Dostoevsky but, are intimidated by the sheer magnitude of his epics, should read this collection of three great shorter works. Bobok is strikingly amusing and clever. The Gambler brilliantly depicts the all too real dynamics of a toxic relationship. My favorite, A Nasty Story, is such an hilarious and witty story. It's almost painful to read as one is compelled to sympathize with the character's best intentions gone wrong. All marvelous works from the brilliant mind of Dostoevsky.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Excellent short stories by the classic Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky 5 Aug. 2009
By C. M Mills - Published on
Format: Paperback
Mention Russian Literature and the names Tolstoy and Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) fall trippingly off the tongue. As one who has immersed himself in the dark, verbose and philosophical novels of Dostoyevsky it was with joy I turned to three shorter works contained in this Penguin Classics Editon.
The Gambler is set in the mythical German spa "Rouletteberg" where a group of travelers play the gaming tables, seek romance and quest for fortune. The tale is told by Alexi a character based on Dostoyevsky who had a gambling obsession. Alexi is in love with the mecurial beauty Polina who will leave him for the arms and wealth of an English nobleman. The General is an old Russian roue who is courted by the mercenary French woman Blanche. The best character in the 120 page novella is Grandmama a rich Russian woman whose relatives fight over the rights to be included in her will. Grandmama loses a fortune at the gaming tables. She is plain, outspoken and wry in her comments on her ne'er do well family
members. This is a cautionary tale of the evils of gambling whose
temptations the author knew all to well.
Dostoyevsky wrote this story under pressure from his publisher to produce a sellable story. It was during its hurried writing that he obtained the services of a secretary who would become his second
Bobok is a short story about the ability of deceased persons to speak to one another from their graves! This is a macabre, witty story in which the dead comment on the foibles of the living.
A Nasty Story tells the tale of a bumptious official who by accident attends the wedding party of a clerk in his office. The official drinks too much collapsing in a drunken stupor. He spends the night in the bed which had been reserved for the newlyweds. The story is a smart smack in the face at Tsarist bureaucrats.
These stories are a good introduction to the genius who is Dostoevsky. Recommended!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Great stories but get a different translation 7 April 2008
By D. B. Chamberlain - Published on
Format: Paperback
I love Dostoyevsky and personally think these stories are some of his best, but after reading this version (as well as a public domain version of Crime and Punishment), realized there are better translations than the ones I had read. I have found that Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky seem to be the best. For the stories included in this book, they have either "The Double and The Gambler" or "The Eternal Husband and Other Stories".

One particularly annoying point is that this version does not have footnote translations for the French phrases in the Gambler.
Not just a nasty story but also a bad beginning 5 May 2013
By Greg Deane - Published on
Format: Mass Market Paperback
'A Nasty Story' by Fyodor Dostoevsky evokes the reader's sympathy as well as his contempt as he presents a character who confronts his tragic failure to live up to his own expectations. Ivan Ilyich Pralinsky typifies the paternalism of the educated Russian towards the uneducated, and so demeans them further in his own mind and himself in their minds. A senior civil servant, Ivan Ilyich Pralinsky is on his way home after a night carousing with two colleagues. He has been pompously expounding on the importance of kindness underlings.

As if by ironic coincidence, Ivan Ilyich Pralinsky chances upon the wedding celebration of one of these underlings, and forces his patronage on the party, destroying any spontaneity or nuptial joy the indigent bride and groom hoped to glean from this one night they hoped to salvage from the years of drudgery before them. Instead of winning the gratitude of his clerk and his guests, Ivan Ilyich Pralinsky only deepens their antipathy for him and his class, and loses their grudging respect as he becomes increasingly inebriated. He turns the happy event into an occasion that will be recalled as a nasty story, even causing the newly-weds to give up their nuptial couch out of deference to his status and so defer consummation of their marriage.

The story is structured around a double vision, in which events unfold differently to how Ivan Ilyich Pralinsky imagined. The narrator relives the evening, once in his own mind of the character, and then as the reader views them through the eyes of his reluctant hosts. Dostoevsky explores an extended solecism that becomes a central narrative incident, where an internal, bitter monologue in which Ivan Ilyich Pralinsky demonstrates a lack of insight or empathy. This device of the monolgue foreshadows the modernist stream of consciousness developed in the works of James Joyce, where the reader sees through the vain veneers of the narrators.
Great, short works by Dostoyevsky 10 April 2008
By Chris Greenwood - Published on
Format: Paperback
This collection of a novella ("The Gambler") and two short stories ("Bobok" and "A Nasty Story") by Dostoyevsky makes for a nice introduction to the Russian master's work. The Gambler is a well paced story that brilliantly depicts greed's devastating effect on the undisciplined. Common Dostoyevsky themes of loss and surrealism are presented here in a nice, shorter package than most of his more well known classics. I was also impressed with how well most of the characters were presented for such a short novel. Grand Mama was an especially memorable character with her manic and compulsive personality. She alone makes this story worth checking out.
My five star rating is for "The Gambler." The two additional short stories are nice to have but add little to the overall value. Read "The Gambler" and then check out the other two if you've been intrigued.
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