Among Dostoevsky’s later novels, The Adolescent occupies a very special place: published three years after The Devils and five years before his final masterpiece, The Karamazov Brothers, the novel charts the story of nineteen-year-old Arkady – the illegitimate son of the landowner Versilov and the maid Sofia Andreyevna – as he struggles to find his place in society and “become a Rothschild” against the background of 1870s Russia, a nation still tethered to its old systems and values but shaken up by the new ideological currents of socialism and nihilism.
Both a Bildungsroman and a novel of ideas, dealing with themes such as the relationship between fathers and sons and the role of money in modern society, The Adolescent – here presented in a brand-new translation by Dora O’Brien – shows Dostoevsky at his finest as a social commentator and observer of the workings of a young man’s mind.
"The Adolescent really is an unjustly neglected book. As a study of the coming of age of a confused young man, it couldn’t be bettered for capturing his mindset; and as the saga of a truly dysfunctional Russian family it can’t be faulted."
Shiny New Books
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