Dostoevsky’s genius is on display in this powerful existential novel.
The apology and confession of a minor mid-19th-century Russian official, Notes from Underground, is a half-desperate, half-mocking political critique and a powerful, at times absurdly comical, account of man's breakaway from society and descent 'underground'.
You read every shimmering, tormented word, mesmerised. This is Dostoevsky in distillation, a prelude not just to his leading works, but to the entire 20th century... How is it possible to have a character who evokes aspects of Hitler and Pooter, who is hilarious yet disturbing, and both villain and victim? Because Dostoevsky was a genius, and the narrator of Notes From Underground his most protean character, with whom you never quite know how you stand
Dostoevsky's is a genuinely disembodied voice, speaking for all sufferers and victims