Title: Notes from the Underground
Author: Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Genre: Fiction, Philosophy
Dostoevsky’s most revolutionary novel, Notes from Underground marks the dividing line between nineteenth- and twentieth-century fiction, and between the visions of self each century embodied. One of the most remarkable characters in literature, the unnamed narrator is a former official who has defiantly withdrawn into an underground existence. In full retreat from society, he scrawls a passionate, obsessive, self-contradictory narrative that serves as a devastating attack on social utopianism and an assertion of man’s essentially irrational nature.
I read Crime and Punishment in high school and hated it, I read The Brothers Karamazov a few years ago and thought it was a good book, but nothing incredible – so when I picked this up, I wasn’t exactly a big fan of Dostoyevsky. But to my surprise, I actually really enjoyed reading Notes From the Underground..
The narrator of the book is one of the most unlikeable characters in literature – he hates everyone, including himself, he is full of contradictions, he’s the kind of person that I would hate to meet in real life – but at the same time I felt like he’s one of the most realistic and honestly written characters I have ever read about, and most of all (this is so wrong but I can’t help it) he’s incredibly relatable.
I will read this book again. I know there are things that I missed in this first reading, so I want to see if I’ll understand it better in the future and if I will still relate to this character. I like Dostoyevsky much more now, so I might even give Crime and Punishment another chance.