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Dostoevsky

Posted: Fri Dec 19, 2008 10:08 am
by rodion
I'm steadily running out of Dosty novels that I haven't read, and I have yet to be disappointed. Perhaps it would be more accurate to say that I have yet to not be surprised and amazed. There are other writers who I've felt a connection with, but usually because they're sarcastic and cynical, and I come away from them not smiling, but sneering, hating people even more for the fictional ones I've just been laughing at. I like these authors because they're very talented and honest, but also because they appeal to my cynical hatred, and encourage it.

Not so with Dosty. I still find amazing talent and honesty in Dosty, and an ability to poke at people's weaknesses, but every time Dosty holds up someone to despise, it's actually me. I can still get my sadistic satyrical kick, but it's really me that we're pointing and laughing at, and I know it. The few characters that aren't me are never villainized--they're always people, with faults and well as beauty, and when I get done with a Dosty novel, my capacity for seeing my own brokeness is sharpened and my ability to love others is deepened and made relevant and necessary, not just to the world, but to me.

I find that God has been speaking to me through Dosty novels more directly than anywhere else over the past few years, and, though I'm drawn irrevocably into the next one, I dread that it's nearly the last one for me. (Why'd Fyodor have to go and die?! A prophet like this should have lived 500 years at least!) But I guess the Bible has also been around for a while, read and reread, and that remains new, right? and so I hope Dosty's novels will too.

In the meantime, I recommend that everyone dive into some Dosty. Let God speak to you through this man's profound understanding of grace, of love for the individual, and of a poignant beauty in a Peter-like passion despite continuous Peter-like failure.

Crime and Punishment, The Brother Karamazov, and The Idiot are all gorgeous novels that continue to mold me. Read them, and reread them. I hope you dig 'em like I do. (Enough to mount amateur efforts at learning Russian, and to have romantic dreams of the Motherland... or maybe just to pass them on--either way.)

Re: Dostoevsky

Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 4:31 am
by musicmonkey
rodion wrote:I find that God has been speaking to me through Dosty novels more directly than anywhere else over the past few years.


Hello there and welcome. How has God been speaking to you through Dostoevsky's books?

Re: Dostoevsky

Posted: Sat Dec 20, 2008 6:21 pm
by rodion
It may be a strange thing to say, but when asked for specifics, the first thing that comes to mind is that Dosty, as the author, seems to love his characters as I imagine God loves his people. I've read some arguments that claim that Dosty wrote an entirely new kind of novel, partly in that the author disappears and allows the characters to exist with their own different attitudes and beliefs, and at no point does the author step in and villainize one and praise the other. Almost as though he's allowing them free will, and respecting them as thoughtful beings.

It's amazing to me, because while reading I see that my first instinct is to diminish the characters I disagree with into being just some jerk who doesn't get it, or a mean selfish person, or whatever other title will allow me to not have to think of that character as an equal human being (or rather, an equally valid and important character as the ones I agree with.)

And in this forced evolution of my thoughts (thankyou, Dosty), I find myself understanding a little more how a "God" kind of being could genuinely love a ton of grubby little people-- individually, and knowing fully each person, and never diminishing him to a single (or several) flaw, habit, or decision.

That conclusion may sound obvious, but in coming to it, I find it refreshing, and comforting. I think I get caught up in the way that I work and treat people, and then I can't even imagine how to love without something showing me how.

Re: Dostoevsky

Posted: Wed Nov 27, 2013 3:36 pm
by maxtheman
Good old Russian classic 8)