The stories in this volume demonstrate Dostoyevsky's genius for fusing caricature, irony and the grotesque to create a powerful dark humour. "The Gambler" is a breathtaking portrayal of an intense and futile obsession. Based on Dostoyevsky's own experience of financial desperation and the compulsive desire to win money, it focuses on the characters that take their places at the gaming tables of 'Roulettenburg': the outspoken, aristocratic 'Grandmamma', the mercenary Mademoiselle Blanche, the cool, mysterious Polina and Alex, the author's self-portrait; a man gripped by exhilaration and hopelessness. "Bobok" is a blackly comic satire in which a desolate writer becomes drawn into the conversations of the dead, and "A Nasty Story" is a humorous look at the disparity between a man's exaggerated ideal of himself and the sad reality.
Fyodor Mikhailovich Dostoyevsky was born in Moscow in 1821, the 2nd of 7 children. From 1849 to 1854 he lived in a convict prison, and in later years his passion for gambling led him deeply into debt. In 1880 he delivered his famous address at theunveiling of Pushkin's memorial in Moscow; he died six months later in 1881. Jessie Coulson has also translated Notes from Undergound for the Penguin Classics.