Book: Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Rating: 4/5

Synopsis:

Notes from Underground by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a novel divided in two parts. Its protagonist is simply a man living underground. The first part presents us with the Underground Man's ideas and philosophies which have an air of intellectualism about them that makes one agree with what he says. The second part deals with an event that took place 15 years ago. Fueled by a combination of his anti-social nature and boredom, he seeks out trouble but always chickens out in the end from actually engaging in a fight and ends up humiliated. During all the action, he meets a girl named Liza at a brothel and talks with her "like a book". The action of the story ends with him insulting Liza while simultaneously calling himself an abominable human.

Review:

Oh, what a book this was! 

I was in accord with everything the Underground Man said in Part 1, and repulsed by everything he did in Part 2. I was glad when I no longer had to read what he did, and that says something, doesn't it? Everything he says in Part 1 is shot every which way in a void; facing reality, however - a reality that cannot exist in a void - is something he cannot do without repulsing not only us but himself as well. All he can do, it seems, is "talk like a book".

But then again, is his way of being an unfixable condition or one that's a direct result of some chemical imbalance? If it really is some chemical imbalance, knowing such diseases as we do today, can we still be as repulsed by him as we would be if he were simply a twisted deranged soul? I don't know what to make of that yet.

Nonetheless, Liza, who, unlike him, cannot "talk like a book", being simple and uneducated, possesses qualities far more important than such intellect as the Underground Man showed to us in Part 1. The fact that she seems to be morally superior *despite* her profession in a book written in 1864 says so much to me about the times that were slowly but surely changing. 

To conclude, well, I loved it! I would recommend it to all literature lovers!

Leave a comment about how you liked this book if you've read it or if you are planning on reading it! 

Published by Mahima Kapoor