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Carnet D'Un Inconnu Stepantchikovo Roman Ina(c)Dit 3e A(c)D.

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Summoned to the country estate of his wealthy uncle Colonel Yegor Rostanev, the young student Sergey Aleksandrovich finds himself thrown into a startling bedlam. For as he soon sees, his meek and kind-hearted uncle is wholly dominated by a pretentious and despotic pseudo-intellectual named Opiskin, a charlatan who has ingratiated himself with Yegor's mother and now holds t Summoned to the country estate of his wealthy uncle Colonel Yegor Rostanev, the young student Sergey Aleksandrovich finds himself thrown into a startling bedlam. For as he soon sees, his meek and kind-hearted uncle is wholly dominated by a pretentious and despotic pseudo-intellectual named Opiskin, a charlatan who has ingratiated himself with Yegor's mother and now holds the entire household under his thumb. Watching the absurd theatrics of this domestic tyrant over forty-eight explosive hours, Sergey grows increasingly furious - until at last, he feels compelled to act.


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Summoned to the country estate of his wealthy uncle Colonel Yegor Rostanev, the young student Sergey Aleksandrovich finds himself thrown into a startling bedlam. For as he soon sees, his meek and kind-hearted uncle is wholly dominated by a pretentious and despotic pseudo-intellectual named Opiskin, a charlatan who has ingratiated himself with Yegor's mother and now holds t Summoned to the country estate of his wealthy uncle Colonel Yegor Rostanev, the young student Sergey Aleksandrovich finds himself thrown into a startling bedlam. For as he soon sees, his meek and kind-hearted uncle is wholly dominated by a pretentious and despotic pseudo-intellectual named Opiskin, a charlatan who has ingratiated himself with Yegor's mother and now holds the entire household under his thumb. Watching the absurd theatrics of this domestic tyrant over forty-eight explosive hours, Sergey grows increasingly furious - until at last, he feels compelled to act.

30 review for Carnet D'Un Inconnu Stepantchikovo Roman Ina(c)Dit 3e A(c)D.

  1. 4 out of 5

    Ahmad Sharabiani

    Село Степанчиково и его обитатели = The Village of Stepanchikovo = The Friend of the Family, Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Village of Stepanchikovo (Russian: Село Степанчиково и его обитатели, Selo Stepanchikovo i ego obitateli), also known as The Friend of the Family, is a novel written by Fyodor Dostoevsky and first published in 1859. Sergey Alexandrovich, the narrator, is summoned from St. Petersburg to the estate of his uncle, Colonel Yegor Ilyich Rostanev, and finds that a middle-aged ch Село Степанчиково и его обитатели = The Village of Stepanchikovo = The Friend of the Family, Fyodor Dostoyevsky The Village of Stepanchikovo (Russian: Село Степанчиково и его обитатели, Selo Stepanchikovo i ego obitateli), also known as The Friend of the Family, is a novel written by Fyodor Dostoevsky and first published in 1859. Sergey Alexandrovich, the narrator, is summoned from St. Petersburg to the estate of his uncle, Colonel Yegor Ilyich Rostanev, and finds that a middle-aged charlatan named Foma Fomich Opiskin has swindled the nobles around him into believing that he is virtuous despite behavior that is passive-aggressive, selfish, and spiteful. Foma obliges the servants to learn French, and gets furious when they are caught dancing the kamarinskaya. ... تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز هفدهم ماه سپتامبر سال 1972 میلادی عنوان: دوست خانواده؛ نویسنه: فثودور داستایوسکی؛ مترجم: مهرداد مهرین؛ تهران، اسکندری، 1349، در 421 ص، موضوع: داستانهای نویسندگان روسی - سده 19 م عنوان: دوست خانواده؛ نویسنده: فثودور داستایوسکی؛ مترجم: مهرداد مهرین؛ تهران، جامی، 1385، در 336 ص، شابک: 9789642575190؛ کتاب «دهکده ی استپانچیکوو»؛ که در ایران بنام دوست خانواده مشهور است؛ اثری از فئودور داستایوفسکی نویسنده ی روسی است. شاید اینطور بنظر برسد که این رمان در مقابل آثار مشهور داستایوفسکی مانند: «جنایت و مکافات» یا «برادران کارامازوف» و یا دیگر آثار این نویسنده، اثری در سطح پایینتری باشد، ولی برای آشنایی کسانی که در آغاز راه داستان نویسی هستند میتواند از لحاظ شخصیت پردازی و روایت داستان مفید باشد. راوی این داستان اول شخص مفرد است و داستان را اینگونه آغاز میکند: «میخواهم داستانی را برایتان تعریف کنم...» پایان نقل؛ و رخدادهایی را که در دهکدۀ استپانچیکوو برای خانواده ی عموی راوی رخ میدهد بازگو میکند...؛ ا. شربیانی

  2. 5 out of 5

    Vit Babenco

    The Village of Stepanchikovo is an acrid farce written in the very rich and colourful language. Fyodor Dostoyevsky skillfully creates an exotic menagerie of characters… The picture of Foma, erudite and miserable, acting the part of a clown to a capricious and cruel master, filled my uncle's heart with pity and indignation. He was quick to attribute all that was outlandish and mean in the character of Foma Fomich to the suffering, humiliation and bitterness of former days. In his gentle and lofty-minded way he immediate The Village of Stepanchikovo is an acrid farce written in the very rich and colourful language. Fyodor Dostoyevsky skillfully creates an exotic menagerie of characters… The picture of Foma, erudite and miserable, acting the part of a clown to a capricious and cruel master, filled my uncle's heart with pity and indignation. He was quick to attribute all that was outlandish and mean in the character of Foma Fomich to the suffering, humiliation and bitterness of former days. In his gentle and lofty-minded way he immediately concluded that the poor devil could not be held responsible for his behaviour and that he must not only pardon him but soothe and heal his wounds with tenderness and compassion, so as to reconcile him with humanity. Having made up his mind on this point, he was carried away completely and proved utterly incapable of realizing that his newly found friend was nothing but a lascivious, capricious, selfish, indolent brute. In the genius and erudition of Foma Fomich he had supreme belief. I should mention that the very words ‘science’ and ‘literature’ inspired my uncle with the most naive and artless awe, although he had never studied anything himself in his life. This was one of his principal, if quite harmless, foibles. No, not even a menagerie but some bizarre insectarium: the uncle – a gullible ant; his mother, the General’s widow – a blowfly, a real bluebottle; despotic Foma – a brainless cockroach. While a whole assortment of freeloaders are nothing but bloodsucking bedbugs, fleas and mosquitoes. ‘Forgive me, forgive me, Foma! and try to forget! …’ Uncle entreated. ‘ “Forgive!” you say? But what use is my forgiveness to you? Well, supposing I do forgive you: I am a Christian; I can’t help forgiving; I’ve nearly done so already. Now tell me: would it not be violation of good sense and spiritual dignity for me to remain a minute longer in this house? And anyway – you have shown me the door!’ ‘It wouldn’t be violation of anything, it wouldn’t, Foma! I assure you, it wouldn’t!’ ‘Really? But how can we be equals from now on? Can you understand that I have, as it were, crushed you with my nobility of spirit, that you have indeed crushed yourself by your despicable behaviour? You have been crushed, and I have been exalted. So how can there be talk of equality? And how can there be friendship without equality? I say this with a bleeding heart and not, as you may perhaps suspect, to exult and elevate myself above you in triumph.’ ‘My heart bleeds too, Foma, I assure you.’ Ultimately The Village of Stepanchikovo is a tale about stupidity and vainglory. “Against stupidity the gods themselves contend in vain” – Friedrich Schiller. Stupidity and vainglory are capable to turn human beings into the creatures that are stranger than those in any fables.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    I was going through my Dostoevsky collection looking for one of his works to re-read, when I came across The Village of Stepanchikovo. I picked it out of my shelf and began reading the back cover, in order to refresh my memory—only to realize that I had not read it yet! I must have confused it with Uncle's Dream; I probably thought that it was a different translation, since both are about uncles in villages. Anyway, I found a read rather than a re-read, which was wonderful. I really thought I had read all of Dostoe I was going through my Dostoevsky collection looking for one of his works to re-read, when I came across The Village of Stepanchikovo. I picked it out of my shelf and began reading the back cover, in order to refresh my memory—only to realize that I had not read it yet! I must have confused it with Uncle's Dream; I probably thought that it was a different translation, since both are about uncles in villages. Anyway, I found a read rather than a re-read, which was wonderful. I really thought I had read all of Dostoevsky's think. I hope I make similar discoveries in the future (although I am sure that there are no more unread pieces hiding in my shelves). Anyway, in The Village Dostoevsky really pushes the reader (that is: my) patience with the figure of the uncle, whose behavior at times is out of this world. Having said that, in the uncle lies the rudiment of what would later become Prince Myshkin, one of Dostoevsky's—and one of literature's—greatest characters. So, overall, while the story wasn't especially great, parts of the writing and the storytelling were very good; and it was interesting to compare some of the characters and concerns with those found in his other works. Also very interesting (and, I admit, somewhat unexpected) was the lampooning of Gogol. Apparently, even those from under whose overcoat you come may be subjected to vehement criticism (in this case, it must be said, rightfully so). Foma Fomich Opiskin, who embodies some of Gogol's follies and questionable beliefs near the end of his life, is a fascinating figure of evil—a foreshadowing of the Dostoevskian villains to come.

  4. 4 out of 5

    Jonfaith

    Risking banishment from Mother Rus' literary revival tent, I had problems with this novel, which was principally a farce. It forms a pairing with Uncle's Dream and I find both wanting when considering The Eternal Husband. Considering its comedic trappings Dostoevsky is a bit catty towards Gogol here. The pantomime villain is a Rasputin of letters and all of his epigrams are iced with Gogol. I'm tempted to explore, was it a slight against Fyodor? Was it Gogol's orientation which made him a target Risking banishment from Mother Rus' literary revival tent, I had problems with this novel, which was principally a farce. It forms a pairing with Uncle's Dream and I find both wanting when considering The Eternal Husband. Considering its comedic trappings Dostoevsky is a bit catty towards Gogol here. The pantomime villain is a Rasputin of letters and all of his epigrams are iced with Gogol. I'm tempted to explore, was it a slight against Fyodor? Was it Gogol's orientation which made him a target or was it his holy roller novocaine? A college boy comes home to the sticks to find all has went to hell. A charlatan has everyone's ear and he's a Dr. Phil with a social program including teaching the serfs French. The real patriarch of the family is a bit of a buffoon. I thought what ensues is a touch whimsical. I understand that every narrative might not bear the benefit of a nihilist who ponders the morality of political terrorism. Momentarily I'm finding the search for benefit in this novel a challenge.

  5. 4 out of 5

    Bettie

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04fxy8d Description: Russia, 1859: The Manor of Stephanchikovo has been thrown into chaos by the activities of a former sergeant who has set himself up as an arbiter of morals and taste. When he interferes in the marriage plans of the family, the whole situation explodes. Stars David Suchet as the Colonel, Margot Boyd as Madame La Generale and Clive Merrison as Foma Fomich. Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 1859 novel dramatised by David Blum.

  6. 4 out of 5

    MJ Nicholls

    The Book Memory Access System. Numerically spread. 1) I map my entire life in books. Don’t call me mad. Have understanding. 2) It helps me remember the important moments. I recall the book I was reading when such-and-such happened. Then I remember the event. 3) Sometimes, of course, I remember the book more than I remember the such-and-such that happened. 4) Therein lies the tension in this literary memory system. 5) You see, although people think life is chaotic, unpredictable and arbitrary, on a day to day bas The Book Memory Access System. Numerically spread. 1) I map my entire life in books. Don’t call me mad. Have understanding. 2) It helps me remember the important moments. I recall the book I was reading when such-and-such happened. Then I remember the event. 3) Sometimes, of course, I remember the book more than I remember the such-and-such that happened. 4) Therein lies the tension in this literary memory system. 5) You see, although people think life is chaotic, unpredictable and arbitrary, on a day to day basis, life is routine and drab. 6) Unless we have money. 7) But even still, forethought eliminates the truly ‘spontaneous’ moments of life: no one suddenly goes off to Mexico for a week. They think, perhaps two hours beforehand, about going off to Mexico. 8) There is order everywhere! 9) Except, perhaps, in this anecdote. 10) But here’s the problem: this memory system creates a fundamental tension between the act of living and recalling life, and the act of living through books and recalling life through books. 11) For example, I might remember Alyosha’s moral goodness in this book profoundly, over the time I slipped on the beach and made everyone laugh oh-so-loudly. 12) The beach incident, when I mix with people in the sunshine, might be considered a ‘precious’ memory moment, but to me, the story of Alyosha pricks my memory to a greater extent. 13) The question: could my love of books, and this memory system, reduce all human endeavour to a rubbish plot with flat, lifeless characters, no action, and terrible drudgery? 14) Or do I lead a particularly boring life? 15) Not when I read books, I don’t. And I’m not about to stop reading books anytime soon. 16) No.

  7. 4 out of 5

    Jim

    When Fyodor Dostoyevsky returned from his exile in Siberia, he was careful to avoid writing anything that would upset the Tsarist censors. It was during this period that he wrote Uncle's Dream and The Village of Stepanchikovo -- both of them comedies about the feckless provincial nobility of Russia. Of the two, Stepanchikovo is the better. It deals with a youthful nephw visiting his widowed uncle in the provinces. He arrives into a regular snake pit. His mother has moved in with him, along with a large group of toadies, the w When Fyodor Dostoyevsky returned from his exile in Siberia, he was careful to avoid writing anything that would upset the Tsarist censors. It was during this period that he wrote Uncle's Dream and The Village of Stepanchikovo -- both of them comedies about the feckless provincial nobility of Russia. Of the two, Stepanchikovo is the better. It deals with a youthful nephw visiting his widowed uncle in the provinces. He arrives into a regular snake pit. His mother has moved in with him, along with a large group of toadies, the worst of which is Foma Fomich Opiskin, one of the author's more memorable characters. It is as if Foma Fomich owned the estate. The mother and her toadies adore him. Many of the males, however, either despise him or at best tolerate him. Just when we expect that Dostoyevsky would find some suitable fate for the sponger, he pulls a switch on us, the readers. The uncle is in love with the governess, Nastenka, and wishes to marry her. After one of his worst scenes, during which he leaves the household in a frightful electrical storm, he returns to give his blessing to the marriage and makes everyone happy, and also cementing his position in the household. The Village of Stepanchikovo is not one of the author's better known works, but it definitely worth reading, and is rather fun throughout.

  8. 5 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC radio 4 Extra: Russia, 1859: The Manor of Stephanchikovo has been thrown into chaos by the activities of a former sergeant who has set himself up as an arbiter of morals and taste. When he interferes in the marriage plans of the family, the whole situation explodes. Stars David Suchet as the Colonel, Margot Boyd as Madame La Generale and Clive Merrison as Foma Fomich. Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 1859 novel dramatised by David Blum. Director: Martin Jenkins From BBC radio 4 Extra: Russia, 1859: The Manor of Stephanchikovo has been thrown into chaos by the activities of a former sergeant who has set himself up as an arbiter of morals and taste. When he interferes in the marriage plans of the family, the whole situation explodes. Stars David Suchet as the Colonel, Margot Boyd as Madame La Generale and Clive Merrison as Foma Fomich. Fyodor Dostoyevsky's 1859 novel dramatised by David Blum. Director: Martin Jenkins. First broadcast on BBC Radio 4 in 1984. http://www.bbc.co.uk/programmes/b04fxy8d

  9. 5 out of 5

    Bryn Hammond

    Features one of D.’s excessively-good characters in the uncle. Who does not come to a bad end like Prince Myshkin from The Idiot. Yes, he is mostly ineffectual against the domestic tyrant installed in his house – except for one moment of crisis when he is effectual indeed – but he is a total dear. To portray goodness was always one of D.’s artistic aims, and he recognised it as one of the hardest things to do. His achievements in this area suffer critical neglect, too, in favour of the bad people, lik Features one of D.’s excessively-good characters in the uncle. Who does not come to a bad end like Prince Myshkin from The Idiot. Yes, he is mostly ineffectual against the domestic tyrant installed in his house – except for one moment of crisis when he is effectual indeed – but he is a total dear. To portray goodness was always one of D.’s artistic aims, and he recognised it as one of the hardest things to do. His achievements in this area suffer critical neglect, too, in favour of the bad people, like the tyrant in this (I thought of a vain Malvolio who doesn’t get his comeuppance) – but D. announced with enthusiasm to his brother that in this novel he had created two types that he had studied in life but didn’t see represented in the Russian novel. Both these characters have a future with Dostoyevsky; he said he had put his heart and soul into this short work, which is taken for a farce and a frolic – obviously he knew these two personalities, a festering ingrown ego and a naïve selflessness, were crucial expressions for him.

  10. 5 out of 5

    J.M. Hushour

    If you're a Dosty fan like me and filling in the gaps of his earlier stuff, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that Heavy D can be pretty fucking funny. In fact, I'd even go so far to say that "Village" surpasses even "Dead Souls" as a sardonic, wry, mischievous, and downright sadistic work of mid-19th century Russian pathos. Even funnier, "Village" is seen by many scholars as a rip on Gogol (who became a sort of 19th century Russian Dennis Miller, once funny and biting, but then, well, y If you're a Dosty fan like me and filling in the gaps of his earlier stuff, you might be pleasantly surprised to find that Heavy D can be pretty fucking funny. In fact, I'd even go so far to say that "Village" surpasses even "Dead Souls" as a sardonic, wry, mischievous, and downright sadistic work of mid-19th century Russian pathos. Even funnier, "Village" is seen by many scholars as a rip on Gogol (who became a sort of 19th century Russian Dennis Miller, once funny and biting, but then, well, you know). It's worth reading this one simply for the sublime ass-clown Foma Fomich, easily one of Dosty's best creations, and a worthy rival to the character's literary stepfather, Dickens' Pecksniff. More a comedy of terrors, "Village" is about the petty tyranny of Foma Fomich over a group of very gullible provincial Russians and the young narrator's attempts to make sense of it all. Written just after his return from exile, Dost must have needed some bawdy safety valve or something. Delirious and much recommendable.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Nikoline

    The Village of Stepanchikovo by Fyodor Dostoyevsky deserves four or perhaps five stars for its writing and language and three stars for the story itself. The reason for this is because there where parts I just wanted to skip because the plot was moving so very slow at times. What kept me going was definitely the beautiful language and writing; I felt like Romeo when he sees Juliet at the balcony with the moon above. It is really that good. This novel is also some of Dostoyevsky's minor works, but as a huge f The Village of Stepanchikovo by Fyodor Dostoyevsky deserves four or perhaps five stars for its writing and language and three stars for the story itself. The reason for this is because there where parts I just wanted to skip because the plot was moving so very slow at times. What kept me going was definitely the beautiful language and writing; I felt like Romeo when he sees Juliet at the balcony with the moon above. It is really that good. This novel is also some of Dostoyevsky's minor works, but as a huge fan of his famous books I simply had to read this one as well. How he has developed as a write is very clear if you compare The Village of Stepanchikovo to Crime and Punishment or even The Karamazov Brothers, however, I still think, despite the fact that this novel is a comedy where every character changes personality from page to page, this has a great depth to it which Dostoyevsky is so known for.

  12. 4 out of 5

    Mεδ Rεδħα

    Before this phrase, "my uncle was such a guy who eventually believed himself to be selfish, and for that he was punishing himself and not wanting to appear selfish, he was sending more and more money" "I was about to leave on the edge of the book, to open one that I have with short stories of Sherlock Holmes at the time of the meal and to come back later. But after that, I read the sentence again with the previous one. "The wagon, the servants and the armchair had been taken by the dishonored so Before this phrase, "my uncle was such a guy who eventually believed himself to be selfish, and for that he was punishing himself and not wanting to appear selfish, he was sending more and more money" "I was about to leave on the edge of the book, to open one that I have with short stories of Sherlock Holmes at the time of the meal and to come back later. But after that, I read the sentence again with the previous one. "The wagon, the servants and the armchair had been taken by the dishonored son by sending money to his mother from his jam, he was charged with amounts that he could not pay with the revenue he had at that time, but good or bad, the characterization of the selfish and the unconscious stuck to the son. Then I reread the paragraph from the beginning, did not leave the book, did not eat my food and continued to read for hours. And the above may not have a particular literary value, but they have their essence for 'not necessarily experiential, but because of the way, unobtrusive, understood with stoic irony. Perhaps the book is actually inferior to his author, I can not answer that, he is my first. The reading experience, however, has taught me not to start with the top works of the writers. It is a light book - not easy to digest, it has a difference - with a joyous tone that if I did not insult the book I would describe it as pseudo-episodic and a lasting humor "the stranger managed to have the ladies' staff of the strategina a remarkable influence similar to the one they practiced various cognitive and prophecy on ladies who run to visit them in the madhouse. And yet despite the down-coming narration in a few words, he has raised most of the characters in my mind as a regular movie. No matter how frightening the joyful tone is, it is not tiring or stupid, because it uses humor instead of sarcasm between endoscopes and developments, and at the same time some dialogues and monologues kill with their quaintness, "slowly I took the courage and so much calm, young as I was, and a slow-moving person jumped from doubt to the other end. " The strategin could well be the archetype for many of the styles that established and established Patha. And that's the big risk about the book, not weighing properly and leaving the comic side. The truth, however, is that in the manipulative characters, those who combine the status of the mother have caused great tragedies, and perhaps the Colonel can save it because of his "naivety", but there are many who do not have the courage to show lightly, blatantly such behaviors that always aim to spoil freedom, to dominate, as a pathological survival instinct. A great find next to the strategina to enclose the writer Dale Koual Fama. Interestingly, sovereign terrorists like the general bring together powerful powerful personalities, transformed into mice, who, however, overwhelm their own kingdom when it will be needed. Even more exquisite is the outline of the bonds between the old woman and the Romans. I do not know how Dostoevsky's adult arrives; however, the young writer seems to understand that certain situations are so tough, made for the heartless that only humor can really become a relentless punishment and at the same time protect in a vile of light and naivety alive . It is very interesting to have the face of the Phamas. His core is dominated by the misguided selfishness of a failed, tightly dressed in the mantle of morphology, megalomania and resentment, the prince of '' mine alone secretly and mine, your own known and my whole, and if you happen to be admired, appreciate something or someone will quit your hats because I have the power you gave me and every moment I make you forget that you gave it to me ". Of course the author is right, the blind man is the one-eyed and the Fama for reasons we seek with the author is bad and manipulative. The strategy is only manipulative and in love in a selfish manner with the Phamas with this kind of attachment feeling which at the base does not seem to have the sexual desire but the mental connection, the merger. Pipelittsina is hatched and that is why the Pharma presides. Wickedness acts as a sick catalyst that never fails to take, grab, crown until the end of every day. The proper ground for all of them is no more than the colonel, "a child in his forties, overexcited, cheerful, maximizing the good qualities of others ... one of their kind good-hearted, modest people who are even ashamed to assume that the other is bad...

  13. 5 out of 5

    Carrie

    Who knew Dostoevsky had such a sense of humor? I was laughing out loud at times and even posing questions of disbelief to myself, similar to the narrator, at the antics of the characters. While at first I couldn't imagine such displays actually ever happening anywhere, as I pondered further I did draw some comparisons to family drama that I have witnessed myself. It is just that in the 21st century, we don't have to be in the same room with each other to propagate this. We can do it v Who knew Dostoevsky had such a sense of humor? I was laughing out loud at times and even posing questions of disbelief to myself, similar to the narrator, at the antics of the characters. While at first I couldn't imagine such displays actually ever happening anywhere, as I pondered further I did draw some comparisons to family drama that I have witnessed myself. It is just that in the 21st century, we don't have to be in the same room with each other to propagate this. We can do it via phone, email, facebook, etc. This is certainly a gem that is surprisingly neglected and unknown in the realm of Russian literary study.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Bettie

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. (view spoiler)[ Bettie's Books (hide spoiler)]

  15. 4 out of 5

    Dewey

    The Village of Stepanchikovo is a minor Dostoyevsky novel, one of three that he wrote primarily in order to reintegrate himself into the St Petersburg literary establishment. But to call this short novel a throwaway would be completely misleading as well: Dostoyevsky was too devoted to his craft to sink that low, which is why, unlike other novelists, reading Dostoyevsky's lesser works is not only a treat but still thought provoking enough, if only a little bit, to make them worth the time. (it a The Village of Stepanchikovo is a minor Dostoyevsky novel, one of three that he wrote primarily in order to reintegrate himself into the St Petersburg literary establishment. But to call this short novel a throwaway would be completely misleading as well: Dostoyevsky was too devoted to his craft to sink that low, which is why, unlike other novelists, reading Dostoyevsky's lesser works is not only a treat but still thought provoking enough, if only a little bit, to make them worth the time. (it also helps that the shorter length of his minor works also doesn't require much time consumption and is thus a safer risk) Out of all of Dostoyevsky's ouevre, this novel is most similar to his earlier novella, The Double, primarily because Dostoyevsky decides to play with the influence of Gogol once again. This gives the Village of Stepanchikovo a comic bent, but unlike the Double where the deeper darker undertones, though present, come full circle only at the end, in the Village of Stepanchikovo it starts as soon as Sergey, the protagonist, hears news of strange occurrences happening at his uncle's estate. Perhaps because he was writing Uncle's Dream at the same time or simply because he, like all great writers, is a bibliophile, Dostoyevsky peppers the Village of Stepanchikovo with more popular culture references of his time than any of his other novels. On one hand this means a bit more footnote referencing is required, but on the other hand the notes are not tedious and gaily recollect the popular culture of Dostoyevsky's era for the otherwise oblivious reader. If Dostoyevsky wished to call this short novel Domination and Subjugation, he would have summarized the psychological conditions as well as the story of Raskolnikov summarizes the concepts of crime and punishment. When young Sergey (and the fact that he is young is important) finds out how his uncle has fallen under the sway of a man called Foma Fomich (who has cozied up to his uncle's mother and thus ingratiated himself at his uncle's house in Stepanchikovo), he goes to Stepanchikovo to try and do something about it, leading to a number of comic and surprising results that take place over the course of two days. What I found most challenging about this novel is how Dostoyevsky continues the "literary research" he started in 'A Weak Heart.' Sergey's uncle is the kindest of men and who loves Sergey, who he adopted after being orphaned, like his own son. The uncle is one who wouldn't hesitate to lay his entire finances on the line to help somebody in need, and is thus the perfect embodiment of the kind person that our moral guidelines encourage us to be. However, this novel is a showcase of the depths in which this kindness can be exploited, and just as he did in 'A Weak Heart' Dostoyevsky exploits this to the max in the guise of Foma Fomich, who is addressed so informally that those used to 19th century Russian literature will find it jarring even if they themselves are informal in their 21st century lives. Most jaw dropping is how the uncle's mother treats the uncle who, despite showing nothing but kindness to his mother, accuses him of being an egotist, a weakness that is also heavily exploited as the uncle reciprocates by giving his mother even more money. At a time when elders were more respected, this story can also represent a good argument as to why simply adhering to one's elders 24/7 can be tremendously flawed. An excellent gem of a novel and Dostoyevskian humor at its strongest, The Village of Stepanchikovo is without a doubt Dostoyevsky's strongest comedy. Though viewed by many as not his strength, Dostoyevsky is nevertheless able to deliver as he reconstructs his writing career from the ashes of Siberia with greater psychological intensity. As long as Dostoyevsky remains psychologically powerful his works will always be great, and The Village of Stepanchikovo is certainly one of them.

  16. 5 out of 5

    Mollie

    One of Dostoevsky's minor works written after four years in prison. This comic novel takes place over 48 hours. The narrator, Sergey Aleksandrovich, is summoned by his wealthy uncle to the countyside, only to find his sweet, kindhearted uncle and the inhabitants of the whole household totally dominated by Foma Fomich, who is a pseudo-intellectual, a manipulator, hypocritical and ridiculous. He reminds me of a Dickens character. I really liked this book. It was funny, sweet and absurd. This would One of Dostoevsky's minor works written after four years in prison. This comic novel takes place over 48 hours. The narrator, Sergey Aleksandrovich, is summoned by his wealthy uncle to the countyside, only to find his sweet, kindhearted uncle and the inhabitants of the whole household totally dominated by Foma Fomich, who is a pseudo-intellectual, a manipulator, hypocritical and ridiculous. He reminds me of a Dickens character. I really liked this book. It was funny, sweet and absurd. This would make a good summer read on the beach, since it's only about 200 pages. It was my first Dostoevsky...now I can't wait to sink my teeth into the more serious ones.

  17. 4 out of 5

    Mike Emett

    A delightful little read. My 2nd dive into Dostoyevsky's work, the first being Crime and Punishment. The latter being so deep and sometimes dark, this work is a whole 180 in comparison. Funny and light. I can see why this is a work forgotten, even rejected by most, but I find it both undervalued and a work about Russian society i.e. culture, life between Russians and their leaders (be they Tsar, the USSR or Putin) and just a obnoxious (in a good way) ride into the ridiculous in the Russian count A delightful little read. My 2nd dive into Dostoyevsky's work, the first being Crime and Punishment. The latter being so deep and sometimes dark, this work is a whole 180 in comparison. Funny and light. I can see why this is a work forgotten, even rejected by most, but I find it both undervalued and a work about Russian society i.e. culture, life between Russians and their leaders (be they Tsar, the USSR or Putin) and just a obnoxious (in a good way) ride into the ridiculous in the Russian countryside.

  18. 4 out of 5

    Laura

    From BBC Radio 4 Extra: Russia, 1859: The Manor of Stephanchikovo has been thrown into chaos by the activities of a former sergeant who has set himself up as an arbiter of morals and taste. When he interferes in the marriage plans of the family, the whole situation explodes. Stars David Suchet, Margot Boyd and Clive Merrison. Dramatised by David Blum and directed by Martin Jenkins.

  19. 4 out of 5

    Kate Sherrod

    A sometimes funny, delightfully depressing novella that'll learn ya (like anyone needs learnin') about how much it can suck when you don't stand up to your mother when she starts bringing quacks and charlatans and general assholes into your happy home.

  20. 4 out of 5

    Wanda

    20 MAY 2016 - recommendation through Bettie. Many thanks!

  21. 5 out of 5

    Jeremiah Nichols

    The introduction of the Penguin Classics edition defends TVOS against an historical perception that this tale is one of Dostoevsky's weakest efforts. The translator contends that it is actually one of his most comedic writings. Having read most of the great author's works, I believe both of these arguments miss the mark. Only those who are committed readers of Russian literature should take up this underwhelming tale.

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kyle

    This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here. Ever known that annoying person who nobody can say no to, and this person is able to lord it over everybody. This awfully familiar character, Foma Fomich Opiskin uses the least defensible point of attack, someone's pride, to get what he wants. And yet, he is also thematically connected to the Burmese bandit in Alfred's speech from the Dark Knight - that guy who threw away the tangerine-sized rubies and only wanted to see the world burn. As interesting and scene-stealing as Foma can be, he is les Ever known that annoying person who nobody can say no to, and this person is able to lord it over everybody. This awfully familiar character, Foma Fomich Opiskin uses the least defensible point of attack, someone's pride, to get what he wants. And yet, he is also thematically connected to the Burmese bandit in Alfred's speech from the Dark Knight - that guy who threw away the tangerine-sized rubies and only wanted to see the world burn. As interesting and scene-stealing as Foma can be, he is less of an enthralling character as the narrator's uncle, who puts up with so much of Foma's nonsense, Yegor Ilyich Rostanev. Not only is his credibility constantly under fire by his ungracious houseguest, but set upon by all sides by numerous other hangers-on and discontents. In the end, when Foma is violently ejected and magnanimously invited to return, shows that Colonel Rostanev is the person who brings peace to the tumultuous house. It is no wonder that Stanislavsky took such an interest in the long-suffering uncle when the Moscow Arts Theatre attempted to mount the stage version of Stepanchikovo.

  23. 4 out of 5

    Brett

    Who knew how many minor works Fyodor Dostoevsky has produced? I recently finished The Village of Stepanchikovo, also sometimes translated as The Friend of the Family. This is a short attempt at a comic novel that meets with middling success. The plot revolves around a rural household in thrall to a domineering pseudo-intellectual named Foma Fomich. Foma, though basically just a hanger-on, manipulates the entire family, including the uncle that is supposed to be in charge, into revering and bowin Who knew how many minor works Fyodor Dostoevsky has produced? I recently finished The Village of Stepanchikovo, also sometimes translated as The Friend of the Family. This is a short attempt at a comic novel that meets with middling success. The plot revolves around a rural household in thrall to a domineering pseudo-intellectual named Foma Fomich. Foma, though basically just a hanger-on, manipulates the entire family, including the uncle that is supposed to be in charge, into revering and bowing down to him. The plot turns on the arrival of a newphew to the estate who challenges Foma's supremacy. Stepanchikovo is not a difficult read and I thought it was enjoyable, though not something that would be considered a classic. Dostoevsky is still finding his footing here, and though the novel is occasionally funny, it did not keep me in stitches by any means. Only for the dedicated Dostoevsky completist.

  24. 5 out of 5

    Oracle_books

    I can't say that this wasn't enjoyable. But then I also can't say that it made a whole lot of sense. If you're in the mood for some pure Russian farce then this is definitely what you're looking for, Dostoyevsky's sense of humour is unique and his narrative pacing is relentless, despite the actual narrative being perhaps lacking. An odd little story, more like a comedy of errors than a social drama, it's possibly not the best place to start if you're just starting out with Dostoyevsky, but if you are a lo I can't say that this wasn't enjoyable. But then I also can't say that it made a whole lot of sense. If you're in the mood for some pure Russian farce then this is definitely what you're looking for, Dostoyevsky's sense of humour is unique and his narrative pacing is relentless, despite the actual narrative being perhaps lacking. An odd little story, more like a comedy of errors than a social drama, it's possibly not the best place to start if you're just starting out with Dostoyevsky, but if you are a long-time lover of Russian writers like myself, it's definitely worth a look-in.

  25. 4 out of 5

    James

    The Village of Stepanchikovo is less well-known than other works of Dostoevsky's mature period. It was written near the end of his Siberian exile yet, despite that, was basically a farcical comedy. The abundant humor and small size combines to make it an entertaining work that is worthy as either an introduction to the author or a light entertainment for readers who have already encountered the masterful novels of his maturity. If it is read with the expectation that it will simply amuse and entertain you it The Village of Stepanchikovo is less well-known than other works of Dostoevsky's mature period. It was written near the end of his Siberian exile yet, despite that, was basically a farcical comedy. The abundant humor and small size combines to make it an entertaining work that is worthy as either an introduction to the author or a light entertainment for readers who have already encountered the masterful novels of his maturity. If it is read with the expectation that it will simply amuse and entertain you it will succeed. At least it did for this reader.

  26. 4 out of 5

    Planck Constant

    This one is a much different Dostoyevsky than all his other works.. Easy reading, a more simple plot .. a very fun and enjoyable book actually.. with this one I didn't feel like I was reading a Dostoyevsky however the mastership of writing is still there...

  27. 4 out of 5

    Anna Sanechka

    I hated Foma, I truly did, like he was a real person or something. That's just a thing with this author - he makes them too real, at times I had to stop reading and rest from all the emotions and anger. My favorite genius of all times.

  28. 5 out of 5

    Steven

    A Dostoyevsky comedy? Initially farcical, Dostoyevky's strength of characterization and drama still makes this a worthy read.

  29. 5 out of 5

    Ryan Schmitt

    This work shows a completely different side of Dostoevsky, whose well-known books are seen--with some justice--as dark and heavy and obsessive, full of trembling and delirium and epilepsy and something called "brain fever." By contrast, Stepanchikovo is full of trolling and irreverence and weird slapstick humor; at one point it somehow managed to call to mind the comedy "Airplane!" from 1980. I don't think I've ever laughed out loud when reading Dostoevsky before, and certainly not multiple time This work shows a completely different side of Dostoevsky, whose well-known books are seen--with some justice--as dark and heavy and obsessive, full of trembling and delirium and epilepsy and something called "brain fever." By contrast, Stepanchikovo is full of trolling and irreverence and weird slapstick humor; at one point it somehow managed to call to mind the comedy "Airplane!" from 1980. I don't think I've ever laughed out loud when reading Dostoevsky before, and certainly not multiple times in the same book. The main character is Foma Fomich Opiskin, a pretentious and despotic douche who has taken over the main character's uncle's estate, which is populated by any number of other ridiculous characters, who Foma Fomich terrorizes in various ways, such as by forcing them to study French. (My favorite resident of Stepanchikovo is the simpleton Falaley, whose childlike daily recounting of what he dreamt the previous night eventually causes Foma Fomich to fly into a Lenin-like rage.) As far as I can tell, Dostoevsky wrote this book to flex on Gogol. Foma Fomich's dialogue references Gogol in some way virtually every other page, just to make sure the point is being driven home. These references are all explicated by Ignat Avsey's excellent notes, for those of us who are only equipped to detect Game of Thrones references.

  30. 4 out of 5

    Dr Nick

    A companion piece to Uncle's Dream in some ways for FD's next work. Also written in exile, also originally envisaged as a drama (which it was eventually staged as after Dost's death), also on the face of it a comic tale of misunderstandings and machinations about the semi-aristocracy in Tsarist Russia- but I have to say this piece has a bit more substance to it and illustrates his ability to understand both human character and relationships. Indeed the work has a very lightly disguised anger run A companion piece to Uncle's Dream in some ways for FD's next work. Also written in exile, also originally envisaged as a drama (which it was eventually staged as after Dost's death), also on the face of it a comic tale of misunderstandings and machinations about the semi-aristocracy in Tsarist Russia- but I have to say this piece has a bit more substance to it and illustrates his ability to understand both human character and relationships. Indeed the work has a very lightly disguised anger running through it which bursts out now and then - hardly surprising given he was coming to an end of his imprisonment and Siberian exile. They (whoever they are!) say that great sitcoms stem from the characters being trapped - in a situation, a location, a personality: the pub in Cheers, the hotel in Fawlty Towers, the Office. I'm not sure that theory holds up completely but there is an element of truth in it and this book illustrates it. In a sense you cant get more trapped than a feudal society - your role was very specifically labelled and you could neither escape it nor ignore it. Russia was a peculiar one though as it held on to its feudal trappings much longer than other similar societies whilst trying to develop a modernist outlook. Britain maintained its feudal overlords as the recent Jubilee "celebrations" showed whilst making damned sure that real power was removed from them after the monarchy was restored following the English Civil War. As old Moz so cleverly put it in Irish Blood English Heart But in Russia the development of the elements of a modern state was done in a feudal way - so the hierarchy was maintained strictly in the civil service and the army (both controlled by the Tsar who of course was appointed by God). In this tale a young student is returning to his adopted village home where his "Uncle" a retired Colonel from the army is struggling with his existence by the return of his mother and a parasitic entourage headed by a brilliant villainous character Foma Fomich. Though the Colonel does not recognise this he is in awe of Fomich but wants his nephew to marry his children's governness who is facing poverty. The return of the gauche youth essentially precipitates a crisis within this bizarre household and reveals hidden crises and loves. The comedy comes from the desciption of the grotesques who populate the Colonel's household - drawn to him because he is a "good man" but wealthy in control of many "souls" or serfs - written as this was before the 1862 Emancipation. The writing skill of Dostoevsky was coming to the fore here with using the outsider to expose all of this in his return. The hangers on in feudal courts at high and low levels must have been a real phenomenon in Russian Society - one escape from utter penury I guess must have been to be a chancer who proclaims higher normally spiritual powers who is showered with the wonders of the top table. Rasputin (Russia's greatest love machine) confirms this the real aristos eventually did him in angered by his position - but that was a couple of generations after Foma Fomich who was clearly cut from the same cloth. Of the Dostoevsky books I have read so far with the exception of the protagonist in the Double this baddy is the best crafted characted I think he has written. He is sanctimonious, manipulative and knows exactly how to exploit his relationship with the Colonel to maintain his power and situation. To draw a parallel with great sitcoms again he is Albert Steptoe to the Harold of the Colonel! He is as trapped as Harold is in the junkyard to Fomich but also his mother who also exploits her son but who is utterly dependent on the chancer. Powerfully he does not appear until the 100th page of the book but is spoken of almost from the first - a great dramatic device. When he does you can almost here the vitriol in FD's description: apparently FF is a vicarious characterisation of Gogol - the earlier Russian writer who ended in death a complete reactionary and supporter of serfdom. Again similarly to his other early work FD runs the roost in parts of the tale over current fiction, journals and poetry in 1850s Russia - even quoting a poem in full at one part through the mouths of one of the children. In FF's vicious bullying of the Colonel's peasants we can see the dilemma of the arrogant Russian nineteenth century intellectual - he despises the illiterate masses but wants to elevates them with his own higher knowledge: symbolised here by FF bullying them to learn French. Quite painful to read actually and beyond a comedy. The setting is clearly rural as well with the urban landscape of St Petersburg a distant reference as it was at that time for Dost. FF has a symbiotic relationship with the Colonel though who is impressed not really by status but by knowledge - which FF ( a court jester in a previous time apparently) exploits to the full. Unusually I guess for the time the comedy ends with a complete triumph for the villain "complete and unassailable" - who although he oversteps his mark with the Colonel pulls it back in and is restored in his parasitic place. The other place where I sensed real anger on FD's part was his description of a wealthy single older woman who almost falls prey to gold diggers in a very well written couple of pages that really stand out from the rest of the work. Plot wise it bounces along - I think it started as a serial a la Dickens - but that is not the real point of the work - it is a character study and as an ensemble piece is quite funny - a nun appears for no real reason at the end ! So although it has chapters called things like "Concerning the White Bull and a Peasant named Komarinsky" it is quite a complex piece which belies its appearance. Maybe why it is quite difficult to get and not translated very often. Perhaps not as weighty as his later works but the signs were there and it tells you much about Russian society and the human condition as well.

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