cover image Dostoevsky in Love: An Intimate Life

Dostoevsky in Love: An Intimate Life

Alex Christofi. Bloomsbury, $24.50 (256p) ISBN 978-1-4729-6469-4

Fiction writer and book editor Christofi (Glass) provides a novelistic account of the life of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, with a focus on the Russian writer’s romantic life. Christofi traces Dostoyevsky’s miserable childhood, tempestuous adulthood, and novel-writing career, but also introduces readers to the women in Dostoyevsky’s life. They included Apollinaria Prokofievna Suslov, whom Dostoyevsky had an affair with after she submitted a short story to his literary journal, Time, and Anna Grigorievna Snitkina, who met Dostoyevsky after he advertised for a copyist for The Gambler, and married him soon after. Christofi’s approach pays off in his recreations of intimate scenes—“Deserted by language, Fyodor kissed [Anna’s] hand over and over, and they drank hot chocolate together”—and in his revelations about Dostoyevsky’s fiction, as when the novelist confesses, before writing The Brothers Karamazov, “There is a novel in my head and my heart, and it’s begging to be written.” Christofi succeeds in revealing Dostoyevsky’s personality in ways no ordinary biographical treatment could. (Mar.)