Thursday, June 30, 2011

Packer on Dostoyevsky

I have been reading more fiction this year than in years passed. It has been an area of reading that I mostly left the last while. I have enjoyed picking this discipline up and thought I might encourage you to do likewise. I made an intentional attempt to read some Russian literature which resulted in my venturing into some of Anton Chekhov's plays, some of Leo Tolstoy's short stories and some nevels and novellas by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.

Yesterday, while searching for free epub books for my Kobo ereader, I came across The Gospel in Dostoyevsky which I quickly downloaded and began reading.

The book has a word from J. I Packer which I thought I would share so that you might consider reading some Russian fiction:

Dostoyevsky is to me both the greatest novelist, as such, and the greatest Christian storyteller, in particular, of all time. His plots and characters pinpoint the sublimity, perversity, meanness, and misery of fallen human adulthood in an archetypal way matched only by Aeschylus and Shakespeare, while his dramatic vision of God’s amazing grace and of the agonies, Christ’s and ours, that accompany salvation, has a range and depth that only Dante and Bunyan come anywhere near. Dostoyevsky’s immediate frame of reference is Eastern Orthodoxy and the cultural turmoil of nineteenth-century Russia, but his constant theme is the nightmare quality of unredeemed existence and the heartbreaking glory of the incarnation, whereby all human hurts came to find their place in the living and dying of Christ the risen Redeemer. In the passages selected here, a supersensitive giant of the imagination projects a uniquely poignant vision of the plight of man and the power of God. If it makes you weep and worship, you will be the better for it. If it does not, that will show that you have not yet seen what you are looking at, and you will be wise to read the book again.

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