A compulsive gambler himself at a certain period of his life, Dostoyevsky wrote this novel with real authority. Set in the appropriately named Roulettenburg, a German spa with a casino and an international clientele, it concerns the gambling episodes, tangled love affairs, and complicated lives of Alexey Ivanovitch, a young gambler; Polina Alexandrovna, the woman he loves; a pair of French adventurers, and other characters.
Although not as dark as some of Dostoyevsky's other works, The Gambler nevertheless offers a grim and psychologically probing picture of the fatal attractions of gambling. Among its strengths are its well-drawn characters â Aunt Antonida, although lightly sketched in, is especially delightful â and its faithful depiction of life among the gambling set in fashionable German watering holes. This edition reprints Constance Garnett's authoritative translation.
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