Fyodor Dostoyevsky – The Eternal Husband Book Review

The short novel The Eternal Husband, describes the almost surreal meeting of a cuckolded widower and his dead wife’s lover. Dostoevsky’s dark brilliance and satiric vision infuse the other four tales with all-too-human characters, including a government official who shows up uninvited at an underling’s wedding to prove his humanity; a self-deceiving narrator who struggles futilely to understand his wife’s suicide; and a hack writer who attends a funeral and ends up talking with the dead. The Eternal Husband and Other Stories is sterling Dostoevsky–a collection of emotional power and uncompromising insight into the human condition.

“‘The Eternal Husband’ is justifiably regarded as Dostoevsky’s most perfect work. “. Really? Really? I doubt it. In comes as a rambling mess which left me picking at straws when I sat down and started to type this mess into a coherent plot explanation.

The plot revolves around the complicated relationship between Velchaninov and Trusotsky, the husband of his deceased former lover.

Velchaninov had an affair with Trusotsky’s wife Natalia, and he realises that he is the biological father of Liza, Trusotsky’s eight-year-old daughter. Velchaninov, who doesn’t want Liza to be raised by an alcoholic, brings Liza to a foster family. Liza dies there.

Trusotsky now wants to marry Nadia, the fifteen-year-old daughter of civil servant Zakhlyobinin. She’s the sixth daughter of eight. Trusotsky takes Velchaninov with him to visit his fiancee, and buys her a bracelet.

Trusotsky is ridiculed by Zakhlyobinin’s daughters and locked up during a game of hide-and-seek. Nadia gives the bracelet to Velchaninov, asking him to return it to Trusotsky and tell him she doesn’t want to marry him.

Nadia is secretly engaged to Alexander Lobov, a nineteen-year-old boy. Trusotsky spends the night in Velchaninov’s room and tries to kill him with a razor knife.

Velchaninov manages to defend himself, injuring his left hand. Sometime later, when Velchaninov has won his trial, the two meet again at a railway station.

Trusotsky is remarried, but a young army officer is travelling with him and his wife. Trusotsky’s new wife invites Velchaninov to visit them, but Trusotsky asks him to ignore this invitation.

9780812983371_p0_v1_s192x300.jpgThat’s it. It seems like Pavel Pavlovich (Trusotsky) is fascinated by Velchaninov, but at the same time repelled by him. Alexei Ivanovich (Velchaninov) can’t seem to interact with Pavel Pavlovich without disrupting Pavel’s relationships with women. They would be awesome mortal enemies and frenemies in modern day! It’s an interesting book – definitely a game-changer when it came out in 1890 – depicting the lives of men in Russia and the cruelties they would have to endure in their courtships.

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