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Dec. 5th, 2005

Finally finished Dosetojewski's 'Böse Geister' (formerly 'Die Dämonen', and what's with the re-naming...) last week, but can't really say anything coherent about it... I dragged it out for too long, lunch-breaks, underground rides, a few pages in the morning. It was not only laziness, although that certainly was part of it - this time of the year I just don't have the energy to focus on such books; Dostojewski's novels have an intensity, a level of emotions, of passion, a way of directly and addressing those big philosophic ideas, that at once attracts me and exhausts me - it's nothing I can read just randomly, I need breaks.

And maybe it's tiredness and avoidance, but this is one of the books I feel I don't even have the right vocabulary to discuss... perhaps it's that these days we're just not used to dealing with - and talking about - those big, existentialist questions?

The character I most felt for (emphasised with?), and whose death I most regretted was Kirillow, because I felt, if not for that promise given, and Pjtor Stepnaowitsch forcing him to go through with it, he needn't have died at all; he was only a few steps away from - (See? And already I hit the wall of 'not finding the right words'. Obviously this touches upon the religious aspect of the novel, but when I merely say 'religion', or 'God', it'll probably give wrong ideas, evoke wrong reactions. I'm mostly atheist, and yet I'm not uncomfortable with Dostojewski's religious angle, which is another discussion I'm too tired and uninspired to tackle at 22:30...) But if you can find beauty/happiness in an autumn leaf and a spider crawling on the wall, if you realise that while you create your own meaning, this meaning can be something good, something positive ('Der Mensch ist unglücklich, weil er nicht weiß, daß er glücklich ist; nur deshalb.') - then you would, in time, perhaps also realise that you needn't kill yourself to prove your freedom as a human being? That perhaps this freedom isn't the ultimate goal? I think his death caught up with him, when he'd already moved beyond it. He and Schachtow are the most interesting characters to me, because they both stand on a threshold. They're more human - Stawrogin, who is so central to both of them, remains somewhat elusive, his power, the way he draws others to himself, is never really tangible to me.

Anyway. I've started 'Der Idiot', regardless. (Also, Daniel Kehlmann, 'Die Vermessung der Welt', the lunch-break book; and Patricia McKillip, 'Ombria in Shadow', the bed-time book)


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