The Gambler

By Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky,

Book cover of The Gambler

Book description

"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…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked The Gambler as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This novel is the best account of the gambling psychology I know. It is a first-person narrative, ruthless in its depiction of the lies that addicts know they’re telling themselves. The story of a resentful compulsive gambler, the poor but superior tutor to a Russian family at “Roulettenburg,” it was itself the subject of a bet. Dostoevsky signed away his next decade’s worth of publishing profits unless he could deliver a new novel within a year. With six weeks to go he hadn’t written a word. He delivered the completed novel several hours before the deadline was going to pass. 

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…

From Peter's list on characters who are down and out.

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