Conversation 5 ‘Light from the East’: Episode 3

Fyodor Mikhailovich looked down and, holding the edge of the bench, shifted his body uncomfortably from side to side.             “You misunderstand me. I know that all men are brothers. Yes, of course. Remember what I wrote about the Chechen prisoner Ali who was with me in the camp and whom I taught to read,Continue reading “Conversation 5 ‘Light from the East’: Episode 3”

Conversation 5: ‘Light from the East’. Episode 2

“It’s a fine view,” I said.             “Mmmm” (non-committally).             “You know they had a Great Exhibition here, two actually—a bit like the one you saw in London, only without a Crystal Palace. But I suppose it was the same idea. Great Britain, land of Industry and Empire. And this is where it happened. JustContinue reading “Conversation 5: ‘Light from the East’. Episode 2”

Conversation 5. ‘Light from the East’. Episode 1.

Over (a late) breakfast, I was eager to put some of the points Dostoevsky had made about his depiction of women to Laura. But it didn’t get very far. She acknowledged (as I’d half-suspected) that she had been playing devil’s advocate (at least in part) and I acknowledged that, of course, she had a point.Continue reading “Conversation 5. ‘Light from the East’. Episode 1.”

Conversation 4: ‘At a Dinner Party’. Episode 8

“How can it be changed?” he began, repeating my question. “Like much else, it goes back to the lie, the first lie, ‘You shall be as gods’. Perhaps it was the woman who took the fruit, but it was the man who thought he could become a god. Of course, he wasn’t a god andContinue reading “Conversation 4: ‘At a Dinner Party’. Episode 8”

Conversation 4 ‘At a Dinner Party’. Episode 7.

It was one of our relatively few formal rules that the person who’d done the cooking left the other to do the washing-up. Normally that just meant loading the dishwasher, but there was going to be a bit more than that tonight. Laura suggested leaving it till the morning and offered to help, but IContinue reading “Conversation 4 ‘At a Dinner Party’. Episode 7.”

Conversation 4. ‘A Dinner Party’. Episode 6.

Of all the abject women in The Possessed, the most wretched was, surely, Maria Lebyadkina. Some people have seen her as a holy fool, but I imagine that most readers today would find her more foolish than holy.  She lives with her brother who, we learn, beats her regularly. She is described as a strange,Continue reading “Conversation 4. ‘A Dinner Party’. Episode 6.”

Conversation 4 ‘A Dinner Party’. Episode 5.

            Laura began. “So. Obviously I’m not a literary critic or academic reader like some of you here, but this is how I feel about it. Crime and Punishment. Sonia. It’s pretty obvious we’re meant to see her as some sort of saint, but, basically, she’s a cliché—the good-hearted prostitute, an innocent who sacrifices herselfContinue reading “Conversation 4 ‘A Dinner Party’. Episode 5.”

Conversation 4: ‘A Dinner Party’. Episode 4

When I got back to the others, the atmosphere had become much more relaxed. I passed the cups around, trying to appear as normal as I could despite being thrown by Fyodor Mikhailovich’s uncanny reappearance. It seemed that while I was out of the room Tamsin had explained a new way of talking about novelsContinue reading “Conversation 4: ‘A Dinner Party’. Episode 4”

Conversation 4. ‘A Dinner Party’. Episode 3.

I took orders and went through to the kitchen, a rather small affair for the size of the flat, more like what my grandmother would have called a scullery (the estate agent called it ‘the butler’s pantry’). There was only really room for two people and it was therefore quite a shock when, having putContinue reading “Conversation 4. ‘A Dinner Party’. Episode 3.”

Conversation 4: ‘A Dinner Party’. Episode 2

(with apologies for the late posting)             “Existentialism … I do half get what you’re saying, at least insofar as it gave a kind of free pass for self-indulgent waffle about the meaninglessness of life” (was I talking about myself?) “… though surely the real philosophers amongst them were more rigorous … but Dostoevsky wasn’tContinue reading “Conversation 4: ‘A Dinner Party’. Episode 2”