Thursday, 18 May 2017

Book #27

The Meek One by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

In this short story, Dostoyevsky masterfully depicts desperation, greed, manipulation and suicide. 
Dostoevsky perfectly uses stream of consciousness narrative to get inside the head of a husband and pawnbroker as his wife lies dead before him. Driven to suicide by his own selfish way of loving her, the grief consuming the pawnbroker is mingled with regret, self-deprecation, and futile justifications. The jarring contrasts of all of these build a clear picture of both his mental state, and the events and behaviours that led to the meek one taking her own life.

This style of writing also allows for the pawnbroker to be considered an unreliable narrator. Grief aside, we are only able to view his wife through his own eyes, and it's entirely possible there were various other reasons at play here. 

A fantastic short exploration of the human psyche when confronted with loss, and one you absolutely have to be prepared for some confusion, and some reading between the lines. A perfect depiction flaw and shame.

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