Saturday, October 22, 2011

Book Review: Fyodor Dostoevsky


I have read the novels of only two Russian authors so far.  Neither was Dostoevsky.  Reading this autobiography by Peter Leithart has whet my interest and I will be downloading one or two to my kindle soon.

As for this autobiography, I have to say it was a very good read.  The author, Peter Leithart teaches theology and literature at the college level and his familiarity with his subject was very apparent.  The purpose of this book, I believe, is to show the ways that Dostoevsky's religious beliefs aided him at the best and lowest moments of his life.  Dostoevsky's Leithart doesn't try to hide his subject's vices.  He just documents them and how Dostoevsky was able to overcome these vices as best he could with the help of his family and his faith.

Dostoevsky was raised a Christian but his faith became deeply embedded during his imprisonment in Siberia.  This is where he came to really understand the the human condition and the suffering and need of the innocent and lower classes in Russia.  This understanding formed the basis of most of his writing.

The author's portrayal of Russian society and culture is very detailed and adds to the flow of the story, making actions of various characters easier to understand.

Definitely a good read.