The Double by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Long before there was Fight Club or a long line of doubles, doppelgangers, strange tales of evil twins or Evil Spock, even Dostoyevsky, the brilliant classic Russian novelist, directed his hand to this very psychologically weird tale.
Strangely enough, Dostoyevsky doesn't make this particular novel as dark and cringy as most of his works. Indeed, even though it IS very paranoid and anxious and disturbing in a very Philip K Dick way, it also comes off as something of a straightforward comedy.
The main character is a person that no one wants or needs. No one respects him. He's weak and submissive and never stands out in any positive way. This is written so well that it's horribly entertaining all by itself, with us watching him squirm and do things that sadly remind us of ourselves in our weakest moments, apologizing profusely, hinting broadly, breaking down at inopportune times in a very Social Anxiety kind of way.
But then his double starts invading his life. Better than him, more productive, socially acceptable, and rather devious. I swear, I thought we were dealing with Tyler Durden.
The best part of this is the fact that we don't actually know whether we were dealing with an actual evil twin scenario or whether it was all in his head. It's not QUITE a comedy unless the reader is into really dark ones. :)
This novel was a really nice surprise. Dostoyevsky is still a master in my book.
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