Why this book?
This is one of my favorite “Down and Out” novels of all time, but what makes it even more meaningful is knowing how desperate Dostoyevsky was when he wrote it. Himself a compulsive gambler, Dostoyevsky had managed through his addiction to roulette to dig himself such a deep hole that in order to pay off his creditors, he was forced to borrow the money from his publisher, but only under the condition that he turn in his next book within six weeks or everything he wrote thereafter would belong to the ruthless bastard in perpetuity. Knowing he had to write something he knew intimately in order to meet this absurd deadline, Dostoyevsky wrote about a character not unlike himself. The result is this slim, nearly perfect novel, a fever dream of compulsion in which I felt I was experiencing the highs and lows of the hero as if he were not a stand-in for the author but for me, the reader.
Why should I read it?
What is this book about?
"The Gambler" is a gripping narrative of the dangers of an addiction to gambling. As was common with Dostoyevsky's writing he draws upon his own life in a semi-autobiographical way in "The Gambler". Dostoyevksy himself suffered from a compulsion to gambling and those first-hand experiences bring a depth of realism to "The Gambler" and to his portrayal of the main character, Alexis Ivanovitch, a young man addicted to gambling. "The Gambler" is an insightful look at the compulsive nature of the gambling addict and the tragic consequences of such an addiction.