The Meek One (1876) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

“Long live the electricity of human thought” indeed.

Keen, nuanced psychological insight as can be expected from Dostoyevsky. Intriguing structure that really melds the protagonist’s deluded mindset with the progression of the story itself.

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Dostoyevsky includes an author’s note at the beginning of the story explaining both the nature of the unreliable narrator and the conceit of the story being structured like a running narration even though that wouldn’t realistically fit into the story, but both aspects are executed well enough that I think the story would have worked fine without them. For a story focusing on breakdowns in communication, Dostoyevsky certainly tried to communicate clearly with the reader.

The ease with which Dostoyevsky sketches out two complicated characters and details the nuanced interplay of pride, jealousy, possession, gender roles and communication between them is very impressive, especially coming in at so few pages. Four coffins and a strained silence.

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