Shop now Learn more Shop now Shop Clothing clo_fly_aw15_NA_shoes Shop All Shop All Amazon Fashion Cloud Drive Photos Shop now Shop Fire TV Shop now Shop Fire HD 6 Shop Kindle Paperwhite Shop now Shop Now Shop now

Customer Reviews

11
4.2 out of 5 stars
The Gambler (Dover Thrift Editions)
Format: PaperbackChange
Price:£4.50+Free shipping with Amazon Prime
Your rating(Clear)Rate this item


There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.

22 of 23 people found the following review helpful
on 8 April 2006
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
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. With less than a month remaining to hand the book into his publisher he had not yet got started. The frenetic pace of the subsequent conversation is echoed in the headlong pace that characterises the events of the story. (By the way, it was while finishing this book with the help of a stenographer that he discovered the woman who would become his wife and change his life.)

The Gambler has neither the epic scale nor literary stature of his great masterpieces including Crime and Punishment and the Idiot, but it is nevertheless an extremely fine major work, a must read for anyone interested in literature and human psychology, and for some benefits from its brevity.

This is an old translation by Constance Garnett, who is the most influential of all Russian translators. Single-handedly she brought Russian literature to the English-speaking world, translating 73 masterpieces. The translations have been criticised, most particularly for the fact that she inevitably brings a certain similarity of style, and Dostoevsky is not one of the authors that she is most admired for, yet despite this her translations remain a benchmark for modern translators, so this remains excellent value.

Furthermore, it's been quite well typeset for e-reading, reads perfectly on the iPad Kindle and with few flaws in the Kindle itself.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
on 21 November 2011
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 2 September 2014
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.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
on 31 January 2002
It's a great book. It shows the reality and it is not predictable. It isn't a book with a happy end, it is just how it goes in every life. Not everything is going great it learns you everything about roulette. It's very exciting.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 23 August 2013
The first book I read by Dostoevsky was Crime and Punishment, I guess that was his best and very hard to beat.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 25 August 2014
Didn't read much of this book at all,it just didn't engage me in the first few pages, so I just lost interest
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
4 of 7 people found the following review helpful
on 8 January 2006
It's a gripping account of fate and of character. Hypocritical shallowness and transparencies are satisfyingly reversed. Humourously too - the arrival of the Grandmother.
Intelligent accounts of people and of social tendencies and addiction..... 'the Russian character'. Roulette the destroyer - pride that falls to its wheel. The balance of characters are slyly dependent or more honest and cutting - the Grandmother. All are vulnerable to the weaknesses of humanity. The narrator has our sympathies for his detachment / lack of interest...and his awareness.....A classic in pace and observation and truth.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
6 of 10 people found the following review helpful
on 4 February 2005
This is in my opinion the author's best book - a genuine masterpiece. Significantly shorter than other works such as "The devils" and "Crime and punishement", he achieved a rare perfection on this novel. I would certainly recommend it.
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
on 28 June 2015
Good
0CommentWas this review helpful to you?YesNoSending feedback...
Thank you for your feedback.
Sorry, we failed to record your vote. Please try again
Report abuse
     
 
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
The Double and The Gambler (Everyman's Library)
The Double and The Gambler (Everyman's Library) by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Hardcover - 1 Sept. 2005)
£10.99

The Gambler
The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Paperback - 13 Sept. 2011)
£6.60

The Brothers Karamazov (Penguin Classics)
The Brothers Karamazov (Penguin Classics) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Paperback - 27 Feb. 2003)
£6.79
 
     

Send us feedback

How can we make Amazon Customer Reviews better for you?
Let us know here.