The Eternal Husband and Other Stories brings together five of Dostoevsky’s short masterpieces rendered into English by two of the most celebrated Dostoevsky translators of our time. Filled with many of the themes and concerns central to his great novels, these short works display the full range of Dostoevsky’s genius. The centerpiece of this collection, the short novel The Eternal Husband, describes the almost surreal meeting of a cuckolded widower and his dead wife’s lover. Dostoevsky’s dark brilliance and satiric vision infuse the other four tales with all-too-human characters, including a government official who shows up uninvited at an underling’s wedding to prove his humanity; a self-deceiving narrator who struggles futilely to understand his wife’s suicide; and a hack writer who attends a funeral and ends up talking with the dead.
The Eternal Husband and Other Stories is sterling Dostoevsky—a collection of emotional power and uncompromising insight into the human condition.
A fifth translation of Dostoevsky's fiction by the acclaimed husband-and-wife team, whose revisionist English-language versions restore much of the colloquial vigor and rough humor suppressed or glossed over in earlier translations. Four of the five tales included here date from Dostoevsky's last decade, the 1870s (only the satirical "A Nasty Anecdote" is earlier)the period that Pevear describes in an incisive Preface as a darker and more complex flowering out of Dostoevsky's more "romantic" previous fiction. And indeed these stories variously offer interesting late developments of the great Russian writer's distinctive preoccupations with the permutations of traditional morality ("The Meek One") and with the shadowy borderline between alienation and dementia ("Bobok," "The Dream of a Ridiculous Man"). Best of all is the superb title novella, which unforgettably explores the sadomasochistic relationship between a cuckolded husband and his wife's beleaguered former lover. One of Dostoevsky's strangest and strongest works, it's a rigorous test for Pevear and Volokhonsky, but one that they pass with flying colors.