Guest post by @bookspluscaffeine
What do you read when you don’t have time to read?
This pocket sized, one hundred odd page Penguin black classic included two Russian short stories by Fyodor Dostoyevsky: White Nights and Bobok. I’m new to short stories (and still pretty new to classics too if I’m honest), but I thoroughly enjoyed both.
White Nights, originally published in 1848, is a coming together of two lonely souls tinged with sadness.
When the rest of the Petersburg is sleeping or already set off to their summer dachas, a chance encounter between the wandering, solitary narrator and a crying young woman, Nastenka, sparks an intense four nights in which the characters reveal themselves to each other in dramatic monologues.
Our narrator is a lonely dreamer, desperate for connection; “…the soul longs and craves for something else! And in vain the dreamer rakes over his old dreams, as though seeking a spark among the embers, to fan them into flame, to warm his chilled heart by the rekindled fire…”
Nastenka lived a sheltered life dominated by her grandmother, until a new lodger arrived, showed her attention and kindness (he gave her books!!!), took her heart, then left. Now, one year later, she awaits his promised return.
The pair find some solace in each other, meeting each night at the same place. He helps her write letters to her love, whilst at the same time he thinks of little else but her. And although he promised not to fall in love with her, he cannot help but do exactly that…
Then Nastenka’s long lost lodger returns.
Many poignantly beautiful, poetic passages. My heart broke a little. So much emotion that it felt like an epic tale, an opera, not a short story.
A bitter sweet love story that will stay with me.
“My God, a moment of bliss. Why, isn't that enough for a whole lifetime?”
Have you ever had the experience of fiction changing the way you see real life? Well, Bobok did it for me. (And in less than 50 pages!)
I don’t want to go into too much detail and give it away, but, wowee, I loved the concept.
I will never walk through a graveyard the same way.
Read it (I want to discuss!!)
White Nights was featured in the July 2019 Classic parcel from the NovelTea Book Club. If you’d like to learn more, or sign up to receive one of our monthly book & tea subscription parcels, please feel free to check out the rest of our website.