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TRANSCENDING THE BARS,
By A Customer
This review is from: The House of the Dead (Classics) (Paperback)
Fydor Dostoyevsky when a 27 year old author working on Netochka Nezvanova was arrested for belonging to a young socialist group. He was tried and condemned to death, but at the last moment he was reprieved and his sentence was commuted to prison in Siberia. He spent five years in the penal settlement at Omsk before being transferred to the military. It was via this book, isolated amongst the convict community analysing minutely events and thoughts and meditation of past life that transformed the writer without question into the genius he is regarded as. He captures their corpse like pallor and enigmatic mannerisms, evoking the life that was and the punishment at hand for others eternity. The scolding clarity of the whip, the 1000 lashes so severe that a capacity to remain conscious is too much for many, perhaps luckily. Splinters of the rods broken into their backs by a licentious lieutenant. The lips tremble so greatly that many prisoners bite them till they bleed. The rods excite the nervous system beyond measure. All this Dostoyevsky endured in soul "for as I move among these recollections of a dreadful past the old suffering revives and all but strangles me". Among this palisade of forced association lies a sickening reality cured by an aspiring spirit that for a few ascended into darkness. Our narrator by virtue is not one of these and at last the shackles are released, free to join the living, to become an equal, a writer of extrodinary gifts, resurrected.