Poor Folk and Other Stories (1846-1848) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A good collection of some of Dostoyevsky’s earliest works. The titular novel, “Poor Folk”, takes up around half of the actual book, the novella “The Landlady” most of the other half, then the short stories “Mr. Prokharchin” and “Polzunkov” take up comparatively fewer pages near the end. “Poor Folk”, “My. Prokharchin”, and “Polzunkov” all have…

Polzunkov (1848) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This story felt almost like a proto-”The Idiot” at times, examining a character perhaps too good-natured and honourable to do well in modern (at the time) society. Unfortunately, unlike “The Idiot”, I didn’t find “Polzunkov” to be a particularly impressive or moving work. As a small character study, or just an April Fools’ Day tale,…

Mr. Prokharchin (1846) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

This short story apparently draws from the life of an actual name. Perhaps that faithfulness to reality is what makes the story feel somewhat aimless and narratively lacking. I almost feel the story would work better as an anecdote rather than a short story in its own right. The ending of the story is interesting,…

The Landlady (1847) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A fascinating, evocative short story written by Dostoyevsky early in his career. I really liked the more Gothic and supernatural elements; perhaps it’s because I recently finished “The Idiot” that I felt I could do with a story less painfully real and true-to-life! I lack the cultural background to understand the ways Dostoeyevsky drew on…

Poor Folk (1846) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

A captivating tale of poverty, and the various ways those within it cope. Structurally, it is an epistolary novel, composed entirely of letters exchanged between the two protagonists, the hard-done-by clerk Makar Devushkin, and the sickly Varvara Dobroselova. Initially I was unsure as to the point of this format, assuming it was either some sort…