Conversation 7: ‘We are all here’. Episode 2.

            “Where to begin?” he mused. Then, falling silent, he seemed transfixed by a tree to our right that was just coming into leaf. “Look at that!” he said, “How can anyone look at that and not be filled with joy?” His voice fell to a confidential whisper. “Perhaps all those books weren’t necessary after all!”Continue reading “Conversation 7: ‘We are all here’. Episode 2.”

Conversation 7: ‘We are all here’. Episode 1

I crossed the Bridge of Sighs.              And no, I wasn’t in Venice.             I was in Glasgow.             It was Easter Saturday morning, and I’d decided to take a walk out to the Necropolis—the Bridge of Sighs being what they rather grandly call the short service road leading to the entrance gates. Laura was in town havingContinue reading “Conversation 7: ‘We are all here’. Episode 1”

Looking forward to the New Year

‘Conversations with Dostoevsky’ will be on pause until after the Christmas/ New Year vacation. The next post will go up on January 7th 2022 and will be the first episode of the final conversation, entitled ‘We are all here’. Meanwhile, I wish all readers a Joyful Christmas – whether December 25th or January 6th –Continue reading “Looking forward to the New Year”

Conversation 6: ‘The Jewish Question’. Episode 5

“Are we going to talk?” I asked, not quite sure how to begin. “I appreciate this must have been a rather difficult hour for you.”             “Difficult—yes. And—talk? Yes. That’s why I came—I’ve heard all the arguments before, of course, but there are still things I need to say. I’ll walk down the road with youContinue reading “Conversation 6: ‘The Jewish Question’. Episode 5”

Conversation 6: ‘The Jewish Question’. Episode 3.

When the speaker had finished, the chair (who declared at the outset that he’d never read any Dostoevsky) asked for questions or comments. There was the customary silence. I was even starting to wonder whether anyone else was going to say anything—I had several comments lined up but this wasn’t my home turf, so toContinue reading “Conversation 6: ‘The Jewish Question’. Episode 3.”

Conversation 6: ‘The Jewish Question’. Episode 2

After reading this, I have to say I felt fairly disillusioned with Dostoevsky for a couple of days. On the one hand I wished he’d turn up and explain himself. On the other hand, I was quite glad he didn’t. It might be the end of a beautiful relationship. I even wondered about giving theContinue reading “Conversation 6: ‘The Jewish Question’. Episode 2”

Conversation 6: ‘The Jewish Question’. Episode 1.

            My next conversation with Dostoevsky, the sixth, was both unexpected and painful and in many ways I wished I didn’t have to write it, although it perhaps ended better than at one point I’d feared. The simplest thing is to just tell it like it happened.             There was a lot to think about after ourContinue reading “Conversation 6: ‘The Jewish Question’. Episode 1.”

Conversation 5: ‘Light from the East’. Episode 7.

“Let’s begin very simply,” said Fyodor Mikhailovich. “Do you like the spring? Do you like to see the flowers and the new growth? Do you enjoy the birdsong?”             “Yes, of course—everybody does.”             “Do you love these things?”             “I suppose so, but …”             “But?”             “Not in the way I love Laura. Of course, in a generalContinue reading “Conversation 5: ‘Light from the East’. Episode 7.”

Conversation 5: ‘Light from the East’. Episode 6.

So there I was, laughing with dead people in Kelvingrove Park. Unembarrassed, absurd laughter. I was reminded of how Dostoevsky’s fictional Elder Zosima tells his followers that faith can only be communicated through joy. Perhaps there was no answer to my questions—only laughter? But I wasn’t prepared to let go just yet.             “Excuse us,Continue reading “Conversation 5: ‘Light from the East’. Episode 6.”

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

Fyodor Mikhailovich looked at Solovyov, as if inviting him to speak—which he did.             “Of course, you need a church. I know that many people in your time say that you don’t need a church and you don’t need to go to church to be a Christian and they were saying it in our timeContinue reading “Conversation 5: ‘Light from the East’. Episode 5”