Pyotr and Stavrogin are the leaders of a Russian revolutionary cell. Their aim is to overthrow the Tsar, destroy society and seize power for themselves. Together they train terrorists who are willing to go to any lengths to achieve their goals - even if the mission means suicide. But when it seems the group is about to be discovered, will their recruits be willing to kill one of their own circle in order to cover their tracks?
Partly based on the real-life case of a student murdered by his fellow revolutionaries, Dostoyevsky's sprawling novel is a powerful and prophetic, yet lively and often comic depiction of nineteenth-century Russia, and a savage indictment of the madness and self-destruction of those who use violence to serve their beliefs.
Review by John Purcell
Nothing can prepare you for Demons (also published as The Devils, The Possessed). It has a dark, dark heart. I read it first as a young hothead and took it all very seriously. I re-read it when I was older and sadder and realised Dostoyevsky was making fun of young hotheads.
So it has something for everyone. The old fogies can tut tut at the idiocy of youth, while the young can rage at the corpse like inaction of the old. Which is what the book is about, really, that unbridgeable gap between youth and age.
Fiery, intelligent, thought-provoking, heart-breaking, frightening, disturbing - funny! - and ultimately unputdownable, Demons is the novel Dostoyevsky fans return to. It leaves young and old alike feeling uneasy and more awake to great questions of life.
(I do have to warn you however, it does have a slow start. Persevere, it's worth it.)
About the Author
Moscow-born Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky (1821-1881) served time in a convict prison for his political alliances, and in his later years his passion for gambling led him deeply into debt. His novels include The Devils and The Brothers Karamazov. Ronald Wilks has translated numerous volumes for the Classics, including most recently Chekhov's stories and forthcoming editions of Tolstoy's stories, and Gogol's stories and plays.
a Dostoyevsky was the only psychologist from whom I had anything to learn: he belongs to the happiest windfalls of my life, happier even than the discovery of Stendhal.a
Dostoyevsky was the only psychologist from whom I had anything to learn: he belongs to the happiest windfalls of my life, happier even than the discovery of Stendhal.
? Dostoyevsky was the only psychologist from whom I had anything to learn: he belongs to the happiest windfalls of my life, happier even than the discovery of Stendhal.?
Series: Penguin Classics
For Ages: 18+ years old
Number Of Pages: 880
Published: May 2008
Publisher: Penguin Books Ltd
Country of Publication: GB
Dimensions (cm): 19.7 x 12.9
Weight (kg): 0.6
Edition Number: 1