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The House of the Dead: Or, Prison Life in Siberia

by (Open Road Media)

(346 reviews)

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The semiautobiographical prison account of convict Aleksandr Petrovich Goryanchikov, from the author of Crime and Punishment.

Originally published in 1862, The House of the Dead is based on Fyodor Dostoyevsky's own four-year imprisonment in Siberia for his involvement in the Petrashevsky Circle. This masterpiece of Russian literature begins with a nameless narrator coming upon former convict Aleksandr Petrovich Goryanchikov in a remote Siberian town. Previously a nobleman and landowner, Goryanchikov had been given a ten-year sentence of hard labor for the murder of his wife, a crime of passion sparked by jealousy. After Goryanchikov's death, the narrator finds a handwritten record of his decade of penal servitude. From his first days in the barracks, friendless and broken in spirit, to the removal of his shackles and freedom, Goryanchikov portrays the experiences of a "lost tribe of men," and the horrors and degradation they experienced.

"Episodic, rambling, full of keen and deliberately stretched-out character sketches, the book is the drama of a person working out how to reproduce prison life in prose: its longueurs, its diversions, its pleasures, traumas, and inurements... If Dostoyevsky's captors had found the ribald, cacophonous commonplace book he assembled out of overheard insults and tossed-off sayings during his time in prison, they would have recognized that they were dealing with a spirit not easily suppressed." -- The Paris Review

"I know no better book in all modern literature." -- Leo Tolstoy

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Additional Info

  • Publication Date: March 28, 2023
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • Lending: Disabled
  • Print Length: 496 Pages
  • File Size: 2,734 KB

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