The Gambler

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Other editions. Enlarge cover. Error rating book. Refresh and try again. Open Preview See a Problem? Details if other :. Thanks for telling us about the problem. Return to Book Page. Preview — The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. The Gambler by Fyodor Dostoyevsky ,. Constance Garnett Translator.

In this dark and compelling short novel, Fyodor Dostoevsky tells the story of Alexey Ivanovitch, a young tutor working in the household of an imperious Russian general. Alexey tries to break through the wall of the established order in Russia, but instead becomes mired in the endless downward spiral of betting and loss.


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His intense and inescapable addiction is accentuated In this dark and compelling short novel, Fyodor Dostoevsky tells the story of Alexey Ivanovitch, a young tutor working in the household of an imperious Russian general. In The Gambler , Dostoevsky reaches the heights of drama with this stunning psychological portrait. Get A Copy. Paperback , pages.


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Published April 8th by Modern Library first published March 10th More Details Original Title. Alexei Ivanovich , Polina Aleksandrovna. National Book Award Finalist for Translation Other Editions Friend Reviews. To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up. To ask other readers questions about The Gambler , please sign up. If gambling is a vain and unreasoning pursuit, why do people gamble in the first place? Bilal El Moudden cuz they want to meet thr Luck face to face.

Is this book a good introduction to Dostoyevsky and his works?

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The Gambler

Breslin White Not bad at all, but note that this is a novella. It's not the novel-length books he wrote. I personally believe Uncle's Dream is the best novella …more Not bad at all, but note that this is a novella. I personally believe Uncle's Dream is the best novella introduction to Fyodor Dostoyevsky. See all 5 questions about The Gambler…. Lists with This Book. Community Reviews. Showing Rating details.

More filters. Sort order. The novella reflects Dostoyevsky's own addiction to roulette, which was in more ways than one the inspiration for the book: Dostoyevsky completed the novella under a strict deadline to pay off gambling debts. The first-person narrative is told from the point of view of Alexei Ivanovich, a tutor working for a Russian family living in a suite at a German hotel.

The patriarch of the family, The General, is indebted to the Frenchman de Criet and has mortgaged his property in Russia to pay only a small amount of his debt. Upon learning of the illness of his wealthy aunt, "Grandmother", he sends streams of telegrams to Moscow and awaits the news of her demise. His expected inheritance will pay his debts and gain Mademoiselle Blanche de Cominges's hand in marriage.

Alexei is hopelessly in love with Polina, the General's stepdaughter. She asks him to go to the town's casino and place a bet for her. After hesitations, he succumbs and ends up winning at the roulette table. He returns to her the winnings but she will not tell him the reason she needs money. She only laughs in his face as she does when he professes his love and treats him with cold indifference, if not downright malice.

He only learns the details of the General's and Polina's financial state later in the story through his long-time acquaintance, Mr. Astley is a shy Englishman who seems to share Alexei's fondness of Polina. He comes from English nobility and has a good deal of money. View all 18 comments. Jun 23, Florencia rated it it was amazing Shelves: favorites , russian , dostoyevskyesqueasdfdsfd-ism , stories-and-novellas-for-this-life.

This novella had a great impact on me for the simple reason that whenever I read certain passages, I saw him. His obsessions, his fears, his passion for a distant woman, his despair. Dostoyevsky was there, trying to survive. Alexei Ivanovich is a 25 year-old tutor that works for a Russian family. The General's family that includes Polina, the woman Alexei loves. They are all living in a suite at some German hotel.

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Besides them, there is a bunch of other manipulative, self-destructing, unstable characters. Flawed yet colorful, at times. As with life. People that were the inspiration for Dostoyevsky's most amusing remarks, filled with fine irony and a tinge of sarcasm. Just a tad Alexei is a complete character; lovable, obnoxious. Everything but indifference. Pride that vanishes when facing his obsession , overly analytical thinking, madness, cynicism, wit, honesty, frankness.

And why should one deceive oneself? He is not the timid character that keeps everything inside. I mean, I am in love with those characters since they are a mirror to me and let me focus on the many things I need to change. But it is nice to see an energetic, outspoken character developing the quality that one longs for. I lose all form Since I have no hope and am a zero in your eyes, I say outright: I see only you everywhere, and the rest makes no difference to me.

One that brought to mind all the disgusting justifications that one encounters in life. This book screams reality. The description of the casino, the kinds of gamblers, the desire to win, the abstraction from the world, the eyes fixed on a number, an excuse for every act, the brief sense of reason after a lost bet and the subsequent hunch that the next one will be the one that saves the day. I was as if in a fever and pushed this whole pile of money onto red—and suddenly came to my senses!

And for the only time that whole evening, in all that playing, fear sent a chill over me and came back as a trembling in my hands and legs. With terror I sensed and instantly realized what it meant for me now to lose!

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My whole life was at stake! It is the impulse, the craving for risks. Despair that drives. Chance that sings. The feeling that one is in control of the roulette, of the next move; the elusive luck. Praises for the fearless gambler. Vivid descriptions about the parallel universe that inevitably brings disgrace to its inhabitants. Citizens that worship daring ventures. They can deny it. They can lie to themselves as they embrace victory, but deep down they are aware of their deteriorating state.

Nothing could be more absurd than moral lessons at such a moment! Oh, self-satisfied people: with what proud self-satisfaction such babblers are ready to utter their pronouncements! And is that the point? What am I now? What may I be tomorrow? Tomorrow I may rise from the dead and begin to live anew! Our doomed Russian friend.

By trying to defeat destiny through gambling, he ensured his servitude. A slave of everything he loved too much. Of everything he hated but still needed. The roulette. The urge. The impulse. A woman. A brief existence perpetually waiting for fate to change.

Waiting for another tomorrow. View all 33 comments. Jul 17, Lyn rated it liked it. Not one of his greater works, but one that reveals his adept ability at multi-layered characterization. The story behind the story is almost as interesting - he had to write this on a tight schedule because of his own gambling debts. Always an introspective narrator, with subtle empathy for an imperfect hero Raskolnikov Dostoyevsky here was able to describe the feelings, anxiety, and drives of a gambling addict.

View all 12 comments. Apr 19, Stephen rated it really liked it Shelves: literature , ebooks , classics , s , audiobook , classics-asian. Fyodor Dostoevsky is a phenomenal writer and an icon of Russian literature. In this story, he has once again written a novel comprised of superb prose, unique characters and some very insightful comments about the human condition. For that, this novel deserves nothing less than 4 stars. HOWEVER , as a native of Las Vegas who has just recently been given the opportunity to read this book after the lifting of the year ban imposed by the State of Nevada on public dissemination of th 4.

The book starts off great. Dostoevsky introduces us to the main character of his short novel, Alexei Ivanovich, and describes him as an intelligent tutor who is working for a Russian family whose patriarch is known as The General. So far…so good. Alexei becomes involved in an extremely unhealthy relationship with Polina in which she is constantly berating him and compelling to take inappropriate actions.

For example, she entices him to get into a verbal altercation with a Baron and Baroness which ends up having long ranging consequences for many of the characters in the story. In order to deal with the many struggles that Alexei finds himself going through, he eventually finds solace in the joys of wagering at the roulette wheel.

Again, so far, so good. However, this is where Dostoevsky, in my opinion and the opinion of casino executives around the world, really departs from reality. Alexei stops reading and keeping track of current events and becomes single-minded in his pursuit of winning at the roulette table. Dostoevsky as proof of the wrongness of gambling. I would say as a form of entertainment, Alexei got plenty of bang for his many bucks.

Still, all Dostoevsky wanted to focus on was the pain that followed Alexei loss of money and his inability to find an alternative means of making a living. Now, to each their own. Therefore, I would like to finish this review by providing you with the following and ask only that you consider it with an open mind.

Gambling destroys families. Truth : Gambling can bring a family together like nothing else. Gambling can be an unhealthy and dangerous addiction. Gambling can lead to drug addiction. Gambling can cost you friends and lead to loneliness. Gambling costs you money. Gambling can make you very unhappy and lead to depression. Gambling can make you forget who you are a become a different person. Truth : Is that such a bad thing is some cases? Gambling is for losers. Gambling can take over your life. Truth : As this visual evidence clearly demonstrates, this woman is going to stop gambling for more than an hour to attend her own wedding Gambling is done in an unhealthy environment.

You can't make a career out of being a Gambler. Truth : Oodles of gold records, a chain of chicken restaurants and a pack of TV movies despite no acting ability begs to differ with you. View all 27 comments. Jan 06, B0nnie rated it it was amazing. You can be seized in an instant by the forces of addiction and obsession.

It happened to Dostoyevsky - he became addicted to gambling after one impulsive stop at a roulette table - and it took place while he already was in the grip of an obsession. The object of his obsession: the beautiful Apollinaria Suslova, one of his students and 20 years his junior.

This femme fatale appears in various forms in many of Dostoyevsky's novels. In The Gambler she is Polina Alexandrovna. He's in there too, as You can be seized in an instant by the forces of addiction and obsession. He's in there too, as the narrator Alexis Ivanovitch. The crazy intensity of his feelings were perhaps what enabled him to write this book in 26 days. And also the fact that if he didn't have a book ready in that time he would have lost all the rights to all of his work. He was in middle of writing Crime and Punishment too.

But Apollinaria took zero interest in his writing. Maybe an occasional "Zis book steenks". The characters in The Gambler are wonderfully awful. Grandmamma is the best of the lot: Yes, it was she—rich, and imposing, and seventy-five years of age—Antonida Vassilievna Tarassevitcha, landowner and grande dame of Moscow—the "La Baboulenka" who had caused so many telegrams to be sent off and received—who had been dying, yet not dying—who had, in her own person, descended upon us even as snow might fall from the clouds!

Though unable to walk, she had arrived borne aloft in an armchair her mode of conveyance for the last five years , as brisk, aggressive, self-satisfied, bolt-upright, loudly imperious, and generally abusive as ever. Every person whom she met she scanned with an inquisitive eye, after first of all interrogating me about him or her at the top of her voice. She was stout of figure, and, though she could not leave her chair, one felt, the moment that one first looked at her, that she was also tall of stature.

Her back was as straight as a board, and never did she lean back in her seat. Also, her large grey head, with its keen, rugged features, remained always erect as she glanced about her in an imperious, challenging sort of way, with looks and gestures that clearly were unstudied. Though she had reached her seventy-sixth year, her face was still fresh, and her teeth had not decayed. Lastly, she was dressed in a black silk gown and white mobcap.

The old lady becomes almost instantly addicted to roulette. Hilarity ensues. The descriptions of the casino and the game are detailed and very real, and the commentaries on the various traits of nationality are, well, interesting. It is not the most developed of his works and I may be somewhat influenced by the stuffy translation, and hearing it read via audiotape , but there are moments in it that are still great.

My greatest attraction to it is the autobiographical aspect, that Dostoevsky was drawn to gambling, and brought to the brink of ruin again and again by it. In that sense, it is a psychological portrait of his own obsession and anxiety. I remember you in an ardent and strong moment of your life; but I'm sure you've forgotten all your best impressions then; your dreams, your most essential desires at present don't go beyond pair and impair, rouge, noir, the twelve middle numbers, and so on, and so forth--I'm sure of it!

He wants to move up in class, but his desperation undermines him. I fairly rushed ahead to read the gambling sequences, which are great. I have some not much experience in casinos, and I know a little of the heart-racing thrill of stupid risk-taking. But--why can't I resurrect? It only takes being steadfast at least once, and in an hour I can change my whole destiny! If they only knew to what degree I myself understand all the loathsomeness of my present condition, they wouldn't have the heart to teach me. I read this primarily because I wanted to look back at the sources for degradation and despair in Dostoevsky for twentieth century noir writers, but the three works above are better sources for those experiences than this book.

But it still has some great moments! View all 17 comments. Gambling addiction, the great writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky knew too well about this affliction, he had to write this short novel very quickly, in order to pay for the debts acquired as a result Our story begins in , with passionate Alexei Ivanovich The Gambler , an unhappy tutor to retired Russian General Sagorjanski's two young children, the formerly rich soldier squandered it all, to much high living and reckless spending, no matter how wealthy a person is, when the money flows out faste Gambling addiction, the great writer Fyodor Dostoyevsky knew too well about this affliction, he had to write this short novel very quickly, in order to pay for the debts acquired as a result Our story begins in , with passionate Alexei Ivanovich The Gambler , an unhappy tutor to retired Russian General Sagorjanski's two young children, the formerly rich soldier squandered it all, to much high living and reckless spending, no matter how wealthy a person is, when the money flows out faster than it comes in, the inevitable consequences occur, bankruptcy as Benjamin Franklin said it long ago , " A Fool and his money are soon parted".

The General receives loans from the mysterious Frenchman, the Marquis des Grieux, a sophisticated nobleman but has quite a sinister reputation, no amount of beautiful manners can hide, besides everyone in Roulettenburg, Baden-Baden Germany, a spa and gambling resort town , dominated by the casino, and the Roulette table dominates that, and the desperate visitors inside seem to be all royal The poor Russian teacher Alexei, is smitten by the General's stepdaughter the beauty Polina Alexandra Praskouja, in her early twenties, like himself, she is rumored to be involved with the prosperous Marquis des Grieux though , and likes to tease and play games for her own outrageous amusement, the tutor being the target.

The love obsessed man even insults a German baron, at her request. Another player is the Englishman, quiet Mr. Astley, the fabulously wealthy businessman, with of course noble blood, much richer than the Frenchman, but the shyest man around, who befriends Alexei, he naturally needs to meet and be introduced to Polina.

Yet another important character is the General's Aunt Antonida, "Granny", seventy-five, said to be in poor health in Moscow, she is very affluent and will leave her fortune to her closest relative, the hopeful nephew the General , who constantly sends telegrams to get the latest news You can imagine the consternation that follows, when this supposedly dying lady shows up at the resort hotel and surprises everyone there, they are speechless, Mlle Blanche the gold digging woman and considerably younger fiancee of the retired military officer walks out, not unexpectedly The invalid old woman likes to intimidate the people in her presence, they do as they are told, after all she has lots of money, but this is a gambling town and the fever can be caught by anyone Too bad this novella wasn't longer , the characters are not well developed , and the plot flies by too fast , but I am a big fan of this talented author and have only read his lengthy novels before, any book by Dostoyevsky, is well worth reading.

The small black ball rolls, rolls, makes small goat jumps before stopping in a hut. Those who are around, who follow his farandole, hold their breath and perhaps close their eyes so as not to see. All are subject to this "chance". Will they lose or to win? To lose and win again or turn your back and go?

Dostoyevsky tells one of his protagonists that it takes courage to turn his heels and run away from the table. Alexei Ivanovich, in spite of all his promises, ended up turning, like Lot's wife. Struck immobilized, as stuck to his condition as a player he can do nothing for himself. For is not the small black marble the hand of destiny striking at random and sealing the human to its condition? Can he change it? Dostoevsky traces an implacable fatality in the soul of his characters. They are all in the bath of the game of life.

They are pawns, numbers that have the illusion of having free will, a fierce will to control their existence. But this is only a sham. Dostoevsky asks in this little novel: Why all this agitation? For the absurdity of life? Full of lies, of false pretenses, of little glory? How can we bear all this, if not by making fun of it?

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Alexei Ivanovich often laughed at himself. It is full of rush with a touch of cynicism. Young man very intelligent and lucid, he gets carried away by his destiny as a straw tossed by the wind. Because he always believes to "redo", like all players. However, he has doubts about his mental health. Perhaps in fact he is not in this spa town in Germany but in an asylum for insane and he writes what he believes to live? Here is a little comical and pathetic story that has its share of cruelty and darkness.

Everything goes fast, sometimes we believe in a farce: a penniless Russian general that awaits the death of the grandmother to get its hands on the inheritance. For it is a Russian general aging, love with a young half-worldly Parisian greedy. The decor is planted. The general neglects his children, makes debts; owes money to a French crook, Des Grieux, who said of noble descent.

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And the grandmother whom everyone had already buried, arrives. The effervescence rises a notch. Alexei Ivanovich is the preceptor of the children of the general. He is consumed with a violent passion for the daughter-in-law of the latter: Polina. But the fervent Alexei is a player at heart. Player of his feelings, his desires, his life in general. With, when the opportunity presents itself, an almost frightening renunciation. Rather a desperate plume.

Dostoevsky was for a long time an addict of the game. When he dictated "the Player" he was still pacing the tables of the casinos; Therefore, it is also a hollow confession. Fyodor Dostoevsky says: Alexei Ivanovich is me. It carries my madness, my bitterness, my splendor, my lucidity, my contradictions and my devouring passions. He embodies the Russian soul. Dostoevsky, even though he encompasses the "Russian spirit," is fierce with his contemporaries and with himself.

The abyss He dictated this novel very quickly, not taking the trouble to write it. I can only thank the translator for having delivered it as it is, without seeking to correct "to make beautiful literature"; It is anyway sparkling. The tongue vibrone, modern, brute, hooked to the thought of Alexei Ivanovich, the narrator; We are hanging on his lips.

It's a whirlwind, a crazy roulette movement. Unfinished speeches, rehearsals, verbal ping-pong, thoughts unfolded in one spray. Like thrown on a gambling table. A narrative that ends abruptly as if everything had been wagered. Mar 18, Piyangie rated it really liked it Shelves: russian-lit. On the second reading I'm forced to change my entire opinion on this book. This was my introduction to Dostoevsky. I didn't know at first what to expect. Unfortunately, I read that this is not one of the best works by him. All must have influenced my perspective on the book.

But after falling in love with Dostoevsky, I wanted to revisit the book to see if I had done justice to it. On this revisit, I realized that I have not done enough justice to the book. It is an interesting story. It talks ab On the second reading I'm forced to change my entire opinion on this book. It talks about addiction, obsession, frustration, anger, arrogance - the human vices that threatens the sanity and peace of the human mind. The story's protagonist is Alexey Ivanovitch, a tutor by profession and a gambling addict.

His addiction coupled with his obsession of Polina, the stepdaughter of the Russian General in whose household he had employed himself as a tutor makes him an emotional slave which slowly leads to his ruination. I enjoyed Dostoyevsky's psychological portrait of the main protagonist Alexey. His conflicting emotions, wavering between his addiction and obsession was so thoroughly and accurately described.

Dostoyevsky's own gambling addiction must have helped him with such accuracy. It made the character real and the reader feels sympathy for him. Even in the other characters, Dostoyevsky does a wonderful job of bringing out their characteristics and emotions so well. Polina's enigmatic self, Blanche's shallowness, De Grier's cunning nature, the General's depression coupled with his obsessive love and even Mr. Astley's steadfastness add contrast and color to the story. The ending is vague but promising.

The author raises hope of Alexey finding his former self with his new gained knowledge on Polina's feelings towards him. Overall, I enjoyed this interesting short work by Dostoevsky. Undeniably, he is one of the greatest story tellers in the literary world. View all 9 comments. I used self-deprecating humour to make life seem less terrible. He would play his music at ludicrous volumes, shocked some bepimpled Scot might scorn the beauty of Beety. Among the most horrible, sung by them both in their giggling lunacy, was: Put it in, put it in, put it in, put it in in in, put it in, put it in, put it in in in, put it in, put it in, put it in in in, put it iiiiiiiiiiiinnnnn.

View 2 comments. Feb 26, Felek rated it it was amazing. Oh Russian literature, how I love thee! View 1 comment. Mar 29, Elham rated it really liked it. But I might have been one if I were in the right place to be an addict of something. I might have been an addict of drugs; as I know myself I have never felt that I should care so much to be healthy - especially when I was younger.

My surroundings, my circles of social friends were always drug-free. How does it really feel? Do people lose their minds? Are they nuts? At those moments what is their purposes? Whenever they gain lots of money, why the hell they come back to gamble again? Why do they make risks? What the fuck. When: Sun 8 Sep , am—pm. Restrictions: All Ages. Website: Taupo Mountain Bike Club. Listed by: taupomtb. Position id: 9 Zone id: Position id: 7 Zone id: Post a comment Did you go to this event?

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