The Gambler

The Gambler, by Fyodor Dostoevsky ★★★★
This is one of Dostoevsky’s shorter novels and follows a young student from Russia tutoring children of a Russian General while living in a small gambling town in Germany. The student inadvertently gets the gambling bug when asked to make bets at the local casino by a lady friend of his. This leads to a disastrous episode in the students’ life, characterized by moments of extreme wealth and extreme poverty leading to a short episode in prison. The extreme wealth dissipates quickly through either inability to control the irresistible gambling urge, or by squandering the wealth rapidly on friends and careless living. Perhaps Dostoevsky was writing this partially autobiographically since he also had a period of compulsive gambling, which he managed to kick. The book generally has a dark, somber tone to it, though a middle section where rich grandmamma comes to visit and suddenly gets caught in the gambling craze offers a comic interlude.
I read this book on Kindle. I have seen the opera The Gambler (Der Spieler) by Prokofiev in the distant past, and so will have to dig the disc out of the memory vaults and watch it again. The book can easily be read in several nights and doesn’t have periods of lengthy dialogue or monologue that are typical of the longer Dostoevsky novels. This edition of the works of Dostoevsky is VERY poorly edited, with numerous spelling mistakes. They obviously quick scanned a text, and offered no proofreading. You get what you pay for. The edition itself should be only 1 star.