A Faint Heart- Fyodor Dostoevsky



‘A Faint Heart’ is one of Dostoevsky’s earliest short stories and it focuses on the tragedy of Vasya Shumkov, a passionate but naïve young man. The tale begins with Vasya informing his best friend, Arkady, that he is engaged to a woman he courted secretly out of fear that bad luck would befall the relationship. Dostoevsky writes tenderly about the men’s friendship as they find themselves in many hilarious situations while celebrating the engagement, but tragedy soon strikes. In a cruel twist of fate, Vasya’s fear of losing his happiness causes him to fall into a pit of misfortune that he struggles to free himself from. What follows is a gripping and heartbreaking tale as Arkady rushes around the city to find and rescue Vasya before it is too late. This short portrays the combination of irony and tragedy that would define Dostoevsky’s later works and has some of the celebrated author’s most poignant and romantic images. ‘A Faint Heart’ is a must-read for fans of Dostoevsky’s well-known novels such as ‘The Idiot’.

Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was a famous Russian writer of novels, short stories, and essays. A connoisseur of the troubled human psyche and the relationships between the individuals, Dostoevsky’s oeuvre covers a large area of subjects: politics, religion, social issues, philosophy, and the uncharted realms of the psychological. He is most famous for the novels ‘Crime and Punishment’, ‘The Idiot’, and ‘The Brothers Karamazov’. James Joyce described Dostoevsky as the creator of ‘modern prose’ and his literary legacy is influential to this day as Dostoevsky’s work has been adapted for many movies including ‘The Double’ starring Jesse Eisenberg.
Constance Garnett
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Saga Egmont
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