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, and all the preceding pages seem to exist only to justify it and make the ending have some sort of impact on the reader. But then the story just stops. Where’s the psychological insight? Dostoeyevsky is lauded for his incredible psychological insight, but rather than developing and exploring what would drive the titular character to do what’s revealed in the surprising ending, the story just concludes. I assume this is because the story draws from an actual real-life happening, but that doesn’t exactly endear the story to me, it still remains a comparatively weak Dostoevsky story because it doesn’t play to any of his strengths. All it seems to do is frame a short story around an interesting anecdote.

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I give it two hard mattresses, and some vittles.

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