domingo, 5 de abril de 2015

The Gambler - Fyodor Dostoevsky (20/50)

Seduced by the idea of writing about a Russian emmigrant, Fyodor Dostoevsky wrote "The Gambler". Roulettenbourg is the main stage of a story of love, European nationalities, hatred and gambling.

Alexei Ivanovich is a teacher living in Roulettenbourg, deeply in love with Polina. His tutor is a Russian General (the stepfather of Polina) in debt with a Frenchman called De Grieux. He is also in love with Mademoiselle Blanche, a woman who is always mixing languages with French.

Hopeless to get Polina's love, Alexei declares himself her slave; however, she likes to play. She dares him to argue with a German Baron. After the royal character gets infuriated with Alexei, the General must banish him. 

Suddenly the Alexei's grandmother arrives to Roulettenbourg, she is a straightforward Russian countess who is always blaming people. The woman knows gambling games and gets addicted. Alexei escorts her in a way full of small wins an great loses. 

The General in aguish begs Alexei to stop her in a Russian way. But no one is going to stop her. When she realizes that her relative is awating her inherintance in order to pay debts, she is convinced not to give a pound to the General.

The general must protect his money; hence, he and his friends ask her to stop. Angrily, she agrees not without showing support to Polina and Alexei.

Polina decides to stay a night with the Englishman, Mr Astley, Alexei's friend. Rutlessly the teacher decides to gamble all night. Like a slow film, he begins to win money, lots of it. Actually, he gets a great sum in a night. I guess this is the most ellaborate chapter. I loved it.

Alexei offers to free Polina from de Grieux by paying her debt. She gets hysterical without stating clearly if she wants or she does not want it.

When rich, Mademoiselle Blanche and Madame de Cominges decide to leave everything and travel with him to Paris. He agrees and enjoys. He loses almost all his money. The General arrives and mademoiselle Blanche knows Alexei must leave. He leaves... In good terms.

Alexei meets again Mr Astley. He does not want to talk about Polina. She is sick, grandmother died and lef all her money to her granddaughter. Hence, she decided to travel with her brothers. The children are stuying in England. 

Astley is a messenger of Polina. Alexei a smart and talentous boy who wants to be a man, for Polina...

A book to read in order to understand the vision of Europeans and the confusion of Russian while identifying themselves.

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