The Gambler

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Kessinger Publishing, Jun 1, 2004 - Fiction - 156 pages
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Based on Dostoevsky's own troubled experiences at the gaming tables, "The Gambler" is a brilliant and telling portrayal of a man crippled by the overwhelming powers of addiction and obsession. Stationed in the house of a tyrannical Russian general, Aleksei Ivanovich seeks solace in the hypnotic turn of the roulette wheel. Yet, what begins as an idle pastime soon becomes a dangerous obsession, as Ivanovich sinks deeper into debt. Observing his mental and financial ruin are his fellow gamblers-including the hilarious and stunningly observed Grandmama, frittering away her family's inheritance while those who seek to gain from her death look on with ill-concealed horror. And as passion, hatred, and unadulterated greed rise to the surface, Dostoevsky creates a dark psychological novel of truly extraordinary proportions. Russian novelist and short story writer Fyodor Dostoevsky is one of the greatest, most influential prose writers of all time.

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About the author (2004)

One of the most powerful and significant authors in all modern fiction, Fyodor Dostoevsky was the son of a harsh and domineering army surgeon who was murdered by his own serfs (slaves), an event that was extremely important in shaping Dostoevsky's view of social and economic issues. He studied to be an engineer and began work as a draftsman. However, his first novel, Poor Folk (1846), was so well received that he abandoned engineering for writing. In 1849, Dostoevsky was arrested for being a part of a revolutionary group that owned an illegal printing press. He was sentenced to be executed, but the sentence was changed at the last minute, and he was sent to a prison camp in Siberia instead. By the time he was released in 1854, he had become a devout believer in both Christianity and Russia - although not in its ruler, the Czar. During the 1860's, Dostoevsky's personal life was in constant turmoil as the result of financial problems, a gambling addiction, and the deaths of his wife and brother. His second marriage in 1887 provided him with a stable home life and personal contentment, and during the years that followed he produced his great novels: Crime and Punishment (1886), the story of Rodya Raskolnikov, who kills two old women in the belief that he is beyond the bounds of good and evil; The Idiots (1868), the story of an epileptic who tragically affects the lives of those around him; The Possessed (1872), the story of the effect of revolutionary thought on the members of one Russian community; A Raw Youth (1875), which focuses on the disintegration and decay of family relationships and life; and The Brothers Karamazov (1880), which centers on the murder of Fyodor Karamazov and the effect the murder has on each of his four sons. These works have placed Dostoevsky in the front rank of the world's great novelists. Dostoevsky was an innovator, bringing new depth and meaning to the psychological novel and combining realism and philosophical speculation in his complex studies of the human condition.

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