Devils by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
There's no doubt about this. This is one of the classics. Also known as The Possessed, this Dostoyevsky is right up there with The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment, but in my head, it's not QUITE as good as the other two.
That isn't to say this isn't a true classic, however. As I was reading it, I kept pointing at the text and saying, "Hey! That's TOTALLY Fight Club! They're totally dissing social norms in the same way, flirting with disaster in increasingly epic ways." and "Hey! That's a total reference to intellectual nihilism and a whole 'God is Dead' vibe a whole DECADE before Nietzsche!"
I was thrilled. I mean, this is a time machine to the eras that led, 50 years later, to the end of the Russian royalty. But then, we have the whole feel of anarchism, conspiracies, social reform, and pure idealism within these pages.
That shouldn't discount the tiny details, however. All the little steps and stages that let us decline, ever so gradually, into turpitude, moral degradation, and some of the weirdest pure-intellectual/religious reasons for suicide in literature.
The fact is, this is not only a total soap-opera full of people toying with the ideas of going evil, but it's also a philosophical tract that skewers Russia, progressives, the religious, and all the major political structures of the day.
And it's also a portent for our modern world. Not to mention that it RESEMBLES our modern world.
Yes, we're all devils.
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