The award-winning translators Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky have given us the definitive version of Fyodor Dostoevsky’s strikingly original short novels, The Double
and The Gambler.The Double
is a surprisingly modern hallucinatory nightmare–foreshadowing Kafka and Sartre–in which a minor official named Goliadkin becomes aware of a mysterious doppelganger, a man who has his name and his face and who gradually and relentlessly begins to displace him with his friends and colleagues. The Gambler
is a stunning psychological portrait of a young man's exhilarating and destructive addiction to gambling, a compulsion that Dostoevsky–who once gambled away his young wife's wedding ring–knew intimately from his own experience. In chronicling the disastrous love affairs and gambling adventures of Alexei Ivanovich, Dostoevsky explores the irresistible temptation to look into the abyss of ultimate risk that he believed was an essential part of the Russian national character.