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Poor Folk by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

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“And though I suffer for you, yet it eases my heart to suffer for you.”

— Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Poor Folk

    Crime and Punishment was an absolutely mesmerizing first experience of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s writing. Being able to read his very first novel, the one that brought him great fame, is an opportunity that I just couldn’t skip over. At 24 years old, he writes Poor Folk—tell me that’s not something to applaud about. This is an epistolary novel that portrays all the faces of human condition. Considered to be one of the most important pieces of literature set in the early beginnings of the Russian realism movement, this novel captures the emotional struggle of individuals who are confronted to poverty. From a desire for respect to a fight to live with dignity, Poor Folk is truly a unique work that is certain to impress readers. The influence of great authors also exude through Dostoyevsky’s writing; writers such as Gogol or Pushkin and many more. Poor Folk is the beginning of a young legend’s legacy.

    The story is written in the form of letters between two characters who are in love, yet fight poverty with every inch of their breath. Second cousins living in horrible situations and only a street away from each other, Makar Devushkin and Varvara Dobroselova both express a desire to escape their miserable situations. While Makar would gladly give everything he gains to embellish the life of the only person he truly cares about, Varvara struggles to accept all that is passed onto her. The relationships between the poor and the one between the poor and the rich are those that enlighten us the most on the morality of individuals. Bound to never be able to be together because of their gruesome conditions, these letters show us the extremes they are willing to go, even when the means aren’t there.

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    What’s really beautiful about this book is how love is showcased through a singular perspective. A perspective that is tainted by poverty. This gives readers the convenience to see everything in a different angle. In fact, this brings a whole new level of relativity when it comes down to human condition. There’s a bunch of backstories that are intertwined with the main plot to explore even further the decrepit situation in which the characters have lived or still live in. Through these moments, we’re able to grasp the struggle of many characters that have indulged a life of hardship. Living in these conditions, you can observe that some values are dropped for others, that dignity scrambles its way to the top. It’s definitely not an easy task to deliver these tales with such a realistic touch, but Dostoyevsky achieves this with a masterstroke.

    Poor Folk is a brilliant novel that succeeds in telling the story of the poor within 100 pages. While the structure can be quite staggering and the plot can sometimes drift into a whole new narrative, the core remains pure as crystal. This novel has shown me that it isn’t what you have that defines you, but what you do with what you have that matters. Poverty strips us of the unnecessary and puts emphasis on the littlest gestures. Even if the condition itself is devastating on life, it does amplify the ability of a person to appreciate the immaterial, the intangible. They say there’s nothing worth holding onto because most things are not permanent, except death. But what’s permanent or not will always be dependent on a person’s perspective and decisions. Poor Folk isn’t known as one of Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s most renown pieces, but I’m definitely glad to had read it. I’m now quite convinced of having become a full-blown Dostoyevskian fanboy.


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Did you read Poor Folk yet? What did you think about it?
You haven’t read it, you say?
How about you read this story for yourself!
You can purchase your copy @Amazon Canada or @Chapters Indigo !
Don’t forget to share your thoughts in the comment section below and follow us so you don’t miss anymore of our reviews!

MY OVERALL RATING: ★★★★☆/

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27 thoughts on “Poor Folk by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

  1. Emily | Rose Read says:

    Dostoyevsky is not a name I often (ever) see in my WordPress feed, lol! This was an excellent post! I might have to check this book out, seeing as how so many Russion works are tomes that take forever, and this one’s not! I enjoyed Crime & Punishment and LOVED the Brother’s Karamazov, so this sounds like something I need to read 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Transhaan says:

      Bahahahah I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone review my boy Dosto out in the blogosphere! Thank you so much for the kind words. I totally plan on checking out The Brothers Karamazov, and I totally see your point about their thickness hahahahh Probably why I haven’t dove into The Brothers Karamazov too 😀 Poor Folk is 100x shorter and can definitely be read in a day. If the story interests you, you should give it a go!

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

    • Transhaan says:

      Thank you for checking out my review! Dostoyevsky is definitely an author to check out if you feel like diving into some fascinating books. You should check out his most popular books first though. Even if they’re REALLY thick, they are TOTALLY worth the read! 😀

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Devouring Books and Lattes says:

    Great post! I loved reading this review! I was going to read Dostoyevsky over the upcoming holiday season, but now I’m not sure which of his brilliant works to try first! So many choices… Poor Folks definitely sounds spectacular! Anyway, I loved the review and I hope you have a very happy holiday!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Transhaan says:

      Yaayy thank you so much for stopping by and for reading my review. It really means a lot to me! 😀 I’m quite glad to hear that Dostoyevsky was an author you planned on checking it pretty soon. You should try out his more heftier books to have a real taste of his writing. He’s definitely one of the most fascinating authors out there! 😀 Hope you have a happy holiday as well!

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

  3. Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

    This is an amazing review Lashaan. I have to admit I never read Crime and Punishment myself, or any classic really other than what I was required to for school, but this sounds like an amazing story. I can’t believe Dostoyevsky wrote this at 24, that’s definitely something to applaud! 😀

    Liked by 1 person

    • Transhaan says:

      Thank youuu soooo much Beth for the kind words. I’d probably never force anyone to read classics, but I’d definitely recommend them if you ever have an interest in these titles. So many amazing stories that bring soooo many different things to the table. There’s bound to be some classics that would highly impress you (to the point on reading a lot more of them?? 😀 😀 😀 ) And yep yep, although it was short, I still find it quite amazing that he was able to gain quite some fame at only the age of 24. That’s a dream come true, in today’s society! 😛

      – Lashaan

      Liked by 1 person

      • Beth (Reading Every Night) says:

        That’s all right! I do have a few classics on my to-read list. I think because I’m a mood reader more than anything else having to read a book for school in set chapters and everything just kind of killed it for me. If I feel like reading a classic and enjoy it then I will definitely pick up more, I know there are a few amazing ones out there so I’m probably missing out not picking any up at the moment.
        I find that amazing as well, just goes to show what you can accomplish at a young age.

        Liked by 1 person

    • Transhaan says:

      Yess! I’m glad to hear you’ve read one of his best books. This one was reaaally short (and his first). If you ever do come across a copy, you should definitely give it a try. Otherwise, if you’ve loved Crime and Punishment, I’d also recommend checking out his other (also… bigger) classics! Dostoyevsky is an amazing author after all! 🙂

      – Lashaan

      Like

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