Fyodor Dostoevsky by Peter Leithart

Daravoe. Fyodor’s favorite memory. He could remember when his parents bought the three-room bungalow there, complete with thatched roof and clay walls. Oh to be in those woods filled with terror and excitement, to run through the quiet cottage, to explore! He felt the whole family become free as they entered the countryside. It’s where he first gathered literary material and had his first taste of grace.

Fyodor Dostoevsky
by Peter Leithart
Thomas Nelson Publishers
September 2011

Back in Moscow Fyodor and his siblings would often cower around their father. He was a good father, instilling them with the Word, and teaching them Pushkin, who would always stay close to Fyodor’s heart. But unlike their kind and compassionate mother, their father was given in irritable rages and tirades. However the children cherished his love and teaching of the arts, and his story telling at night.

After publishing Poor Folk, his first novel, a masterpiece unlike anything yet written in Russia, he became involved in numerous literary circles, listening to writers he respected. Deemed socially awkward and sickly, he was also known for his short fuse at such events. One night, while goaded into an impassioned speech, by a colleague, he met his demise, having been overheard by a spy. The next time he would see these friends, they would all be emaciated and standing in front of a firing squad.

Having been spared at the last minute, he spent years of exile in the bitter cold of Siberia. Sleeping in lice infested beds among criminals, he found the harsh conditions and his own sociological studies began to form the basis for one of his best selling novels.

Upon release, he kept on with his urgency to write and print his views. Sometimes hardly having enough money to eat, other times at the pinnacle of public admiration. He found love, he found lovers, and he met with loss. But then he found Christ, which radically changed him and the peoples adoration of him forever. Once despised he grew to be a most loved author.

As someone who enjoys Russian classic literature, I was eager to read this book. The author does a good job helping the reader gain more insight into Fyodor’s personal life. I did like the book, but I found a couple areas to be a little slow. However, it was really almost true to form for classic Russian works where the author most often fills pages with his views on the political state of his country. It was a short and quick read, I did enjoy it and I do feel it’s worth a read. I would recommend it to anyone who wants to know more about Fyodor, or enjoys fictionalized biographies.


Heather Ring say that books are her plane ticket into another world, “I’d feel lost with out them. Reading is a part of me. However I am also an avid lover of the outdoors and pouring into my creative outlets. But I think my biggest passion, is spending time with my family and friends.”

This book was provided by the publisher as a review copy.