(Book Review) The Idiot

It's life that matters, nothing but life—the process of discovering, the everlasting and perpetual process, not the discovery itself, at all.

I do not think there is a way to write a review that makes justice to this book while avoiding sounding like an idiot in the process, I am sorry Srdan, I tried. So far I have read four books by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov being my favorite and the best novel I have read, but this one is a really close second.

The story follows Prince Myshkin, a young man that returns to Russia after spending years being treated for his epileptic fits in Switzerland. On his way back Myshkin befriends Rogozhin, the son of a merchant who is obsessed with the beautiful Nastasya Fillippovna. Eventually, Myshkin makes her acquaintance and ends up falling in love with her in spite of her self-declared baseness.

Myshkin is presented to us as a truly good man, one who is always honest and has no problem forgiving others for their failings, capable of seeing only the good on the people around him. It is from this innocent nature of the Prince and his interactions with the society he had just entered into that the plot of the novel develops. Speaking of this society, the novel contains a wide array of secondary characters (to the point where it becomes difficult to keep track of them) each with his own strengths and weaknesses, not a single one being all good or all bad, that make the setting and developments a lot more believable and entertaining.

The Idiot is capable of evoking a wide range of emotions in its readers, making you care about the characters and their troubles. In it, Dostoyevsky delves into many interesting topics as are his thoughts on capital punishment (he was, after all, sentenced to a mock execution himself), nihilism, Christ as human being instead of a deity, the church, among others.

Bear in mind that The Idiot is not an easy read, but it is a really remarkable novel, and one that is certainly really worth doing.

You can find the rest of my reviews here. See below for some of my favorite quotes from The Idiot:

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