Gary Saul Morson
1) The gambler
Narrated by the character Alexei, who is addicted to gambling, this short novel is based on Dostoevsky's own experiences as a compulsive gambler. Like so many characters in Dostoevsky's novels, Alexei is trying to break through the wall of the established order and the human condition itself but instead he is drawn into the vortex of the roulette wheel.
Anna Karenina is the tragic story of a married aristocrat/socialite and her affair with the affluent Count Vronsky. The story starts when she arrives in the midst of a family broken up by her brother's unbridled womanizing -- something that prefigures her own later situation, though she would experience less tolerance by others. A bachelor, Vronsky is eager to marry her if she will agree to leave her husband Karenin, a senior government official,...
The Belknap Press of Harvard University Press
"Gary Saul Morson brings to life the intense intellectual debates shaping two centuries of Russian writing. Dialogues of great writers with philosophical wanderers and blood-soaked radicals reveal a contest between unyielding dogmatism and open-minded wonder, rendering the Russian literary canon at once distinctive and universally human"--