Sunday, 15 April 2012

The Insulted and Injured

Date of Reading: 18/12/2006
Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky
Publisher: The Windmill Press
Place: Great Britain
Year: 1915

          Novel is also known as The Insulted and Humiliated. Protagonist is Vanya or Ivan Petrovitch, a penniless young author, who is based on author's own life experiences. He becomes the confident of all the other characters and is therefore able to explain their thoughts and motivations and the narration is in first person. 
          As an orphan child Vanya was looked after by Nikolay Sergeyitch and Anna Andreyevna along with their daughter Natasha. They were rich once, but a case with Prince Valkovsky ruins everything and they were forced to move to Petersburg. Natasha has fallen in love with Alyosha, the Prince's son and together they elope. Nikolay curses curses his daughter and sever all ties between them.
          Vanya was in Petersburg too, staying at a rented house in Klugen's building and he helps the two of them. The formal inhabitant of his place was a Mr. Smith and his dog Azorka. After his death in front of his eyes, Vanya finds Smith's grand daughter, Nellie, in Vassileyevsky island. Her mother, Smith's daughter, has run away with his documents with her lover but after the birth of Nellie, they got separated. Nellie's mother died of consumption, being too late to be forgiven by her father. With the help of an an old friend named Masloboev Vanya brings the sick Nellie to his home.
          Meanwhile, following his father's plans Alyosha falls for another woman called Katherina and eventually chooses her over Natasha who suffers everything silently. Nellie's story opens the eyes of Nikolay and he welcomes Natasha back; Nellie also stays with them. Soon it is revealed that Nellie is Prince Valkovsky's daughter; she dies soon too. Natasha and Vanya recognises their mutual love and decides to lead a life together.

Rating: Good

          This is Dostoevsky's first major work of fiction after his Siberian exile and the first of the long novels that made him famous. Language is smooth and splendid, but the story bores a little at some places. There are too much mental conflicts and lack of actions which ofcourse is the trade mark of all his novels.

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