Fyodor Dostoevsky by Peter Leithart is another biography in the Christian Encounter Series published by Thomas Nelson. Since Dostoevsky is one of my favorite authors, I really enjoyed this book.
In this book, Leithart spends the first part of the book chronicling the life of one of the greatest writers, not only in Russian history, but in the world. He outlines the events in Dostoevsky's life starting with his strict upbringing by a disciplinarian father, and his relationship and love for his loving mother. Leithart also spends quite a bit of time describing Dostoevsky’s work with the socialists and his subsequent imprisonment in Siberian labor camps…and how his near execution that was called off at the last second. This experienced greatly influenced his writings.
Leithart talks of Dostoevsky’s conversion to Christianity and that how because of the devotion of the wife of one of the other prisoners (who chose to share in her husband's punishment rather than be separated from him) gives his a new picture of God. Dostoevsky struggles with the concept of grace and his effort to overcome his own sinful nature, and comes to the conclusion that his only option is to fall at the feet of Christ begging for mercy. Again, here we gain an insight to the ideas and characters that make up the colorful and exciting novels Dostoevsky wrote. When I read a novel by Fyodor Dostoevsky, I feel as though I'm stepping into a whirlwind. Now I understand it is because this emotional, unstable, epileptic man's life was a whirlwind all the way down to his untimely death at the age of fifty-nine.
I have thoroughly enjoyed Dostoevsky’s writings specifically, The Brothers Karamasov, Crime and Punishment, and The Idiot, and this book added to the enjoyment of those books as it gives insight to the man behind the words.
If you are a fan of this influential Russian author's work, you will love this book