From renowned translators Richard Pevear and Lindsay
Volokhonsky comes a new translation—certain to become the definitive version—of
the first great prison memoir, a fictionalized account of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s
life-changing penal servitude in Siberia.
Sentenced to death for advocating socialism in 1849,
Dostoevsky served a commuted sentence of four years of hard labor. The account
he wrote afterward (sometimes translated as The
House of the Dead) is filled with vivid details of brutal punishments,
shocking conditions, and the psychological effects of the loss of freedom and
hope but also of the feuds and betrayals, the moments of comedy, and the acts
of kindness he observed.
As a nobleman and a political prisoner, Dostoevsky
was despised by most of his fellow convicts, and his first-person narrator—a
nobleman who has killed his wife—experiences a similar struggle to adapt. He
also undergoes a transformation over the course of his ordeal, as he discovers
that even among the most debased criminals there are strong and beautiful
souls. Notes from a Dead House reveals
the prison as a tragedy both for the inmates and for Russia. It endures as a
monumental meditation on freedom. Download and start listening now!