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Paperback The Gambler Book

ISBN: 1419163264

ISBN13: 9781419163265

The Gambler

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Book Overview

The Gambler is a novel written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky that tells the story of a young tutor named Alexei Ivanovich who becomes addicted to gambling. The novel is set in Germany and revolves around the lives of a group of people who are staying at a fictional casino town. Alexei is in love with Polina, who is the stepdaughter of the General who employs him. Despite his love for Polina, Alexei finds himself drawn into the world of gambling and becomes...

Customer Reviews

5 ratings

Gambling On Greatness

This short novel, written at break neck speed to appease his publisher, is stunning. By turns humorous and deeply dark it reveals how all our lives are subject to the wheel of fate, and that with every turn could be happiness or ruin.

Beauty Amid Ashes.

I loved this book. I'm not sure that any book entitled "Gambling Psychology" would include a better profile of the psychopathology that is gambling addiction. The main character's massochism is also a wonderful case study of how such personalities operate and function. The plot is excellent and "granny" is so perfectly described that it's as if the author included a photograph of her. Much of the Russian psyche is on display and the reader will get a glimpse into people and lifestyles that are quite in keeping with what one might find today in our own Roulettenberg, Las Vegas. This was a concise but pleasant ride through human nature.

The loser takes it all

Fyodor Dostoyevsky is not an easy writer --well, which Russian author can be called easy? -- but once you get into his books, it is difficult to put it down. One of the best ways to be introduced to his works is the short --and even funny-- novella `The Gambler'. Working with fiction and reality, this is an addictive novel.As the story goes, a gambler himself Dostoyevsky had been paid by his publisher and had a writer's block therefore couldn't write anything. He hired a stenographer to help him. So she did, and they ended up falling in love. And the world received one of the best novellas ever. On a lighter note, in 2003, this story was updated in a movie called `Alex & Emma'. While it is a great plot, the film didn't succeeded for many reasons. On the other hand, there is a movie version, also called `The Gambler', made in 1997, with Michael Gambon and directed by Károly Makk that is much closer to the novel and much better. The book tells the story of a compulsive gambler named Alexey Ivanovitch that while in a German spa casino gets involved with a couple of people, and has the greatest gamble of his life. Alexey will find love and hate, friends and enemies and will learn a lesson he will never forget. To tell more is to spoil all the fun of discovering all the twists in this amazing book.As someone who knows what he is writing about, Dostoyevsky paints a vivid portrait not only of Alexey but also of the casino and its gamblers. People win and lose in the question of minutes, and the more they lose the more obsessed they are. Just like life.Dostoyevsky's prose is crafted and beautiful. This is one of the aspects that make this book so timeless. The other one that the novella deals with human nature, and it nave loses interest --no matter when or where. The human soul is the same everywhere. So are our wishes and failures. And to write about it, Dostoyevsky is first among equals.

Existential Delight

Brilliant, emotionally twisted novel with subdued observations and madly intoxicating behaviors. Souls are bared and hidden,feelings are life threatening and questions are unasked. This is a different Dostoevsky,with the same amazing sweeping sheer power of writing but exploded in your face rather than carrying you along the minefield!

An engrossing, fun short work

The story behind the creation of The Gambler is well-known--due to heavy debt, Dostoevsky had less than four weeks to write a novel to avoid losing the rights to all his works, both past and future. To make his task a bit easier, he hired the star pupil of a stenography school (whom he later married) to take dictation, and for the material of the novel he borrowed heavily from his own life--he had experience as a compulsive gambler, and he used his mistress Apollinariya Suslova as a model for the character Polina. The result was an inspired, though by necessity short, work of art. The passages set in the casino do an excellent job of capturing the tortured fascination that gamblers have with the roulette wheel even for readers, such as myself, who have avoided casinos all their lives. However, The Gambler is not just about gambling--it features an intriguing array of characters which are developed quite well in the mere 117 pages of the novel. "Granny," for instance, is probably just about the most amusing character I've seen in Dostoevsky, and the entangled aims of all the characters make for a very lively narrative. It seems as though, if he had the opportunity, Dostoevsky could have written a whole novel about any one of them. Obviously, The Gambler lacks the depth and brilliance of Dostoevsky's more famous long works, but if you're after a quick, entertaining read, it's really an excellent choice.

The Gambler Mentions in Our Blog

The Gambler in A Life in Books: 9 of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Defining Works
A Life in Books: 9 of Fyodor Dostoevsky's Defining Works
Published by Ashly Moore Sheldon • January 15, 2021

Fyodor Dostoyevsky's successful first book, Poor Folk, came out 175 years ago today when the author was only 24 years old. But in a life beset by drama worthy of, say, a Russian novel, it would be many years before he produced a notable follow-up. Here we explore the literary giant’s best books and how they mirror his extraordinary life.

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