In The Master of Petersburg J. M. Coetzee dares to imagine the life of Dostoevsky. Set in 1869, when Dostoevsky was summoned from Germany to St Petersburg by the sudden death of his stepson, this novel is at once a compelling mystery steeped in the atmosphere of pre-revolutionary Russia and a brilliant and courageous meditation on authority and rebellion, art and imagination. Dostoevsky is seen obsessively following his stepson's ghost, trying to ascertain whether he was a suicide or a murder victim and whether he loved or despised his stepfather.
"Hugely impressive-Coetzee never puts a foot wrong" Daily Mail "Anyone interested in the power of fiction to move us and extend our sense of life should get hold of this book" Spectator "An intense and deep book" Guardian "A stunning account of the relation of writers and events-A harsh and eloquent critique of the human condition. It is also a subtle, powerful, superbly written personal testament. The bleakness of vision is tempered only by the certainty that life can be material for art. This is art. The case is proven" Sunday Times "Both a gripping mystery and a meditation on the relationship between art and life" BBC History Magazine