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The Gambler Paperback – 1 May 1997


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Product details

  • Paperback: 186 pages
  • Publisher: W. W. Norton & Company; New Ed edition (1 May 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0393316491
  • ISBN-13: 978-0393316490
  • Product Dimensions: 1.4 x 0.2 x 2.1 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (13 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 2,805,285 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Review

" Dostoevsky gives me more than any scientist." --Albert Einstein --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

About the Author

Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote The Brothers Karamazov, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and many other novels.

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful By Depressaholic on 8 April 2006
Format: Paperback
Dostoevsky wrote 'TG' very quickly because he needed to pay of his own gambling debts during the period in which he was completing 'Crime and Punishment'. Consequently, although it contains all the classic motifs often found in Dostoevsky's work, it is very short and hurried, and reads like a 700 page novel condensed into a 100 page novella. It is 'Dostoevsky Lite', with all the elements but not the depth of his other books.
'TG' is the story of a few days in the life of the household of a Russian General who has relocated to a gambling town in Germany (Roulettenberg) and frittered his fortune away. The protagonist, a ward of the general's family, is a classic Dostoevsky lead man, feverish and passionate, as he becomes embroiled in complex love triangles and money wrangling within the general's entourage, and attempts to divert them from the twin disasters of financial and social ruin. The arrival of the general's mother (whose legacy is a potential source of redemption for the family) brings the family crises to a head. All of this, despite the brevity of the book, is told with the wonderful characterisations and relative complexity of Dostoevsky's other works.
Although I described 'TG' as 'Dostoevsky Lite', this isn't necessarily a negative. It didn't, for me, have anything like the impact of his longer novels, but conversely it was a quicker and easier read than his other books. I think that anyone wishing to dip their toe in Dostoevsky but who is intimidated by his reputation, could do a lot worse than starting with 'TG'. Likewise, anyone already a fan will not be disappointed. He has written better books, much better, but 'TG' was a very good book by anyone else's standards.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful By Angus Jenkinson VINE VOICE on 24 Aug. 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The Gambler is an extraordinary tale by one of the acknowledged masters of world literature and this edition benefits from an excellent introduction, low-cost and the opportunity to experience the translation of Constance Garnett.

The Gambler is at one level of picaresque tale of obsessions, erotic, financial, social and of course gambling itself, which ultimately represents the hazard of oneself and one's life. At the same time, events and remarks can be read in more than one way since they possess archetypal or mythical status. For example, 'the Gambler' of the novel offers to throw himself off the top of Snake Peak at the instruction of the young woman he is in love with. For Dostoevsky, a Christian whose attitudes have been informed by the mystical content of his epileptic fits and the cast of his extraordinary mind , this has parallels with one of the temptations of Christ, when Lucifer proposes to him that he should leap from the top of a mountain.

Ultimately, the book explores the nature of freedom, the pseudo-thrills, -freedoms and -dreams of people and asks where happiness really lies.

Much of the novel is also based around the experiences of Dostoevsky himself, who was prone to gambling, was married with compulsive ardour to a woman who treated him in a way experienced by the `hero', who is also a kind of anti-hero, travelled abroad, the story takes place in Germany and Paris, and so on.
The novel was also born in extraordinary circumstances that synchronise with the content. Dostoevsky at made a kind of gamble that he could finish the book in a short deadline while also finishing his masterpiece Crime and Punishment, with the penalty of failing to do so being the loss of his livelihood for nearly 10 years.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By oldschoolstoryhunter.calm on 21 Nov. 2011
Format: Paperback
I would heartily agree with Angus Jenkinson's excellent review and would also add that I prefer this translation to Jessie Coulson's (Penguin Classics of yore). The breathless pace at which it was written, and at which I read it, is well served by her rather artless style.

This is a book about being stripped to the base core, about being unrefined, out of control and lost. It is not suited to overly literary treatment. Too many translators miss that the Russian classics - unlike many of our own classics - were not written for a small coterie of educated people but with the entire world in mind.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
If you have an addiction to anything you will feel the trickle of sweat running down your neck as you read this and feel the joy of of winning the despair of losing and both the fear and terror of winning again. How did he manage to put so much terror, despair and bewilderment into one short story? Genius.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
There were numerous printing errors in this book and it was necessary to try to guess what the was meant by many of the words. It needs amending and re-printing. There was also no mention of the fact that there were three different stories in this book. Each of them had the same problem with spelling.
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Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This copy is virtually unreadable - don't buy it. It has clearly not been proof checked before being offered for sale.
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By Jacqui King on 23 Aug. 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
The first book I read by Dostoevsky was Crime and Punishment, I guess that was his best and very hard to beat.
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