“Efimov, who had more than probably married her because she had a thousand roubles, sat back and folded his arms after the money was spent, and, as if glad of an excuse, declared to all and sundry that marriage was the death of talent, that he could not work in a stuffy room face to face with a starving family, that these surroundings were not conducive to inspiration and that is was clear that he was destined for this kind of misfortune. It seems that he himself had come to believe in the truth of what he was saying and was only too pleased to find another line of defense. The unhappy, ruined genius was searching for an inner cause on which to put the blame for his misfortune and disaster.”
Being a huge fan of Dostoevsky, and Russian literature in general, I was very excited when I came across an unassuming little copy of Netochka Nezvanova (which translates, sadly, to Nameless Nobody) in a used bookstore. I had really never heard about this book, so I did some research on it before I read it. It was a good thing too, because it turns out that the book is actually unfinished. This was Dostoevsky’s first attempt at a novel, as well, which is so important in terms of his growth and development as an author, and on his themes. There are about 180ish pages here of Netochka’s story, but Dostoevsky was arrested and exiled to Siberia before he could finish it. Then, upon his release, he abandoned the work altogether and focused on his other novels, the famous ones we have all heard of. While this may not be his strongest novel by any means, there are sparks of brilliance throughout that speak to his later books, and I found it enjoyable and fascinating as a whole.