In this novel Dostojewski tries to deal with his own roulette addiction. It’s about a young tutor who works for a Russian family that once was wealthy but now has gotten into some trouble.
The young tutor who wrote down his story in this book works for a Russian general. Together with his stepdaughter and his two children the general resides in a health resort awaiting his aunt’s death. The rich old lady would bequeath them a lot of money which he really needs. He has to pay back debts to a Frenchman and also needs financial aid as he wants to get married. The tutor Alexei Ivanovich loves Polina, the general’s stepdaughter. She asks him to make some money for her at roulette.
Soon they all are shocked by the arrival of the aunt who is more than alive. She looses a lot of money at roulette and goes back to Russia. The general has sort of a nervous breakdown as his wife-to-be won’t marry him without money. In the mean time Alexei wins a small fortune at roulette and then follows the general’s almost wife to Paris. There they have an excessive life. When the money is all spent he goes back to gambling and loses himself completely in the game.
The character’s are all described very well and the story is credible. It’s obvious that Dostojewski is acquainted with gambling otherwise I think he wouldn’t have been able to dive into the character of Alexei and write about the addiction so well. From time to time it gets a little heart to follow the emotional acts of the characters, especially when he writes about Polina having a breakdown. However, the story itself is really interesting and the writing style is also pleasant. It was a fascinating read getting soaked into the mind of a gambler. Although the novel was published in 1867 it still is up to date.