The Adolescent (Everyman's Library, 270) Hardcover – 16 Oct 2003
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"Not till J. D. Salinger created Holden Caulfield has there ever been so convincing a portrait of an adolescent." --This text refers to the Paperback edition.
From the Inside Flap
The narrator and protagonist of Dostoevsky's novel The Adolescent" (first published in English as A Raw Youth) is Arkady Dolgoruky, a na-ve 19-year-old boy bursting with ambition and opinions. The illegitimate son of a dissipated landowner, he is torn between his desire to expose his father's wrongdoing and the desire to win his love. He travels to St. Petersburg to confront the father he barely knows, inspired by an inchoate dream of communion and armed with a mysterious document that he believes gives him power over others. This new English version by the most acclaimed of Dostoevsky's translators is a masterpiece of pathos and high comedy. --This text refers to the Paperback edition.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
For what it is worth, my own opinion is that 'The Adolescent' is not in the same league as 'Crime and Punishment' or 'The Brothers Karamazov', though the writing is as stylish and well-crafted as anything I've read by Dostoevsky.
The plot is pretty wild (No bad thing necessarily!), even for Dostoevsky, and it moves along at a pace. He maintains a sense of mystery throughout, holding back a fair bit of information. For me, that made the book relatively difficult to read, but I expect some readers would enjoy that.
I would hesitate to recommend this book to many people. Ultimately, I'm not sure that it was entirely worth the effort, but I certainly think that it was meticulously written, and that parts of it will grab the attention of Dostoevsky fans.
Firstly, stylistically, this is concordant the narrative genius of any of his other novels. He sets puzzles and invites us to outguess him much as Nabokov describes the reader/writer chess game. We are invited to see through the protagonist's naivety to what is really going on behind the curtain (where Arkady's assumptions are nearly always faulty). It has all of his rambling introspective anecdotes and is very recognizably a Dostoevsky novel.
The problem, I found, is in the characterization and ideology, which Dostoevsky always casts hand-in-hand. There are no extreme ideas here, and so his characters never seem to occupy a space. I think Dostoevsky might have been aiming at realism and 'family life', and as a result this is a very different book to his others. But as a realist novel it falls off the peg a number of times because of a series of strange 'fictitious' coincidences (e.g. the chance meeting with an old school friend) and threads that don't seem to be finished (e.g. Arkady's 'idea').
This is worth reading if you are a fan, but worth leaving on a back-burner if there are other Dostoevsky novels that you haven't read.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I'm afraid this is not really anything that can be described as a proper review and exists solely to balance I think the very harsh impression the overall 3 star rating may give... Read morePublished on 20 Dec. 2010 by Riddley