7 of 7 people found the following review helpful
A Russian sitcom,
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This review is from: The Village of Stepanchikovo: And its Inhabitants: from the Notes of an Unknown (Penguin Classics) (Paperback)
This highly spirited character comedy turns around an impudent schemer, who became the real master of a household through his `ties' with the mother of an estate owner, `uncle'. The latter is a credulous, irresolute weakling, who is terrorized of giving offense. He is completely mystified by the confident of his mother, who is not more than an arrogant, bullying parasite, but a master in psychological blackmail.
Other important characters are a young heiress, whom the family wants to couple with `uncle' in order to save the estate, and a young girl who is in love with `uncle'.
The whole bunch around them, are mainly intriguers and vipers, who are using `uncle' as a punching ball.
In one of his first novels, Dostoyevsky shows already that he is a master painter of psychological warfare, in depth character sketches, complicated intrigues and hilarious scenes with embarrassing confrontations.
Like in all his earlier work, one can find here the basic brushes of the great characters in his major novels. One thinks here immediately of `The Idiot'.
In his excellent introduction, which should be read as an afterword, the translator I. Avsey explains that the character of `uncle' is a portrait and an attack on Gogol, because of his reactionary comments in `Selected Passages from Correspondence with Friends'.
This book is highly recommended to all lovers of world literature and all fans of Dostoyevsky.