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The Idiot

Narrated by: Constantine Gregory
Length: 24 hrs and 56 mins
4.5 out of 5 stars (24 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Prince Lyov Nikolayevitch Myshkin is one of the great characters in Russian literature. Is he a saint or just naïve? Is he an idealist or, as many in General Epanchin's society feel, an "idiot"? Certainly his return to St. Petersburg after years in a Swiss clinic has a dramatic effect on the beautiful Aglaia, youngest of the Epanchin daughters, and on the charismatic but willful Nastasya Filippovna. As he paints a vivid picture of Russian society, Dostoyevsky shows how principles conflict with emotions - with tragic results.

PLEASE NOTE: When you purchase this title, the accompanying reference material will be available in your Library section along with the audio.

Public Domain (P)2017 Naxos AudioBooks

What listeners say about The Idiot

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A very worthy translation

A very listenable translation performed perfectly by the narrator. Dostoyevsky never fails to deliver. Well done.

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Good story overall but not easy listening

I enjoyed the overall story here, but there is a lot of dialogue with long names that take a while to really get familiar with. I'm not used to reading this kind of literature so that might explain my difficulty. It's like Jane Austin on steroids with Russian names.

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  • Theo
  • 02-05-2018

Moments of surprise.

Reading Dostoyevsky is like hiking up a vast mountain. Much of the path appears to be like the past couple of steps - and like the next couple of steps. Every now and then, you come upon a lookout point in a moment of amazement and awe - and then return to hiking. Throughout the story, there are masterful moments of descriptions, dialogues or monologues that have such remarkable significance that they are likely to stay with the readers for the rest of their lives. And then, as is also often the case with Dostoyevsky - there is the summit - completely unexpected, surprising and in some instances shocking to the bone yet no less amazing. Dostoyevsky is a hike up a mountain - not a hike in the park. Not easy to read but with no ordinary reward. As for Constantine Gregory - BRAVO! I doubt if there is a single other narrator that could quite master Dostoyevsky as he as come to do quite comfortably. The ever so slight changes in intonation to distinguish the (many and sometimes confusing) characters, and his grasp of the cultural and linguistic peculiarities is masterful. The Idiot is not the most rewarding of the great Dostoyevsky works - but is in every way extremely satisfying and ultimately rewarding. I always feel like I have been rewarded with some form of insight or prize after having completed a Dostoyevsky book - and the Idiot is no different.

153 people found this helpful

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  • Reademandweep
  • 03-02-2018

Narrator Gregory is up to the task.

Dostoyevsky’s words matter. There are no car chases or sex scenes. His stories are a psychological and philosophical examination of life, which can be ruined by a reader who doesn’t “get it”. I purchased 2 versions

66 people found this helpful

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  • Erin
  • 22-08-2019

Not his best, but it is still Dostoevsky.

I enjoyed the ending. The rest of the book is filled with the deep character building Dostoevsky is been known for. A little too much, because at some point you are thinking "why am I finishing this?" I almost didn't a few times. Constantine Gregory does a decent job at trying to let you know who's talking, by attempting to changing his voice. He does what he can with the numerous characters Dostoevsky has created in this book. Should you read this book? Only if you like his other works. It is a big commitment. It's not Notes From The Underground and it's not The Brothers Karamazov. It is just Dostoevsky having random conversation about everything and nothing at the same time. I am not even sure he properly explained what the prince was inflicted with that made him seem like an "Idiot". He talks about his "fits" and very unlike him, he doesn't explain it in detail. Maybe he did, but I listened as best I could and maybe I missed it. I usually enjoy the conversation he creates between the characters, that was not the case for me in this book. That doesn't mean it's not worth reading. If you enjoy him , you may enjoy this book. This occurred to me just now writing this. Maybe Myschkin is represented as being "naive" about the world he lives in. Maybe that's the whole thing right there, being "naive" may cost you everything you love. Okay now it seems like a good book. I would still get rid of 300 pages. This book is a 3-4-star by any other author, but it is Dostoevsky. Like I said earlier if you enjoy his other books you may enjoy this one.

45 people found this helpful

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  • debbie ortiz
  • 03-10-2017

The Idiot

This was translated very well. The narrator was superb. The characters are very interesting. And it is my 2nd favorite Dostoyevsky.

34 people found this helpful

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  • Doctor
  • 18-11-2018

Strong Novel. Worth your time

The story is strong if occassionally tedius. However, the performance is wonderful. Take your time with it, though, as it is very dense (mostly in a good way). Nastasya F. is a wonderful character to dissect and discuss, however the novel could use more of her.

20 people found this helpful

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  • Rich
  • 31-07-2019

Starry, Starry Night

I had 'The Idiot' at one (ONE!) star at the halfway point of this book. No decrepit apartments and bloody axes here in high-society StP: just 400+ pages of Jane Austen he-said-she-said banter with a myriad of characters who seem major but aren't. But dammit: I stuck it through, and FyDo had a payoff waiting for me at the end. Prince Myshkin resonates with me -very- deeply (for better or worse), especially during my teens and 20s. Some things to know for the embarking reader: - FyDo wrote this novel serially; even -he- didn't know how it was going to end until it ended. So if it seems that the book is searching for footing in the middle 50%, that's because -it was.- - Nastasya, Rogozhin, Agayla and the Prince are your main characters (and two of them will not be present for ~75% of the book). For all other minor characters, it might be worth your time to read full analyses online so you can weather the book and understand their foil roles. - Nastasya's character was based on a real-life tryst that FyDo had with a notably younger woman. Themes of religion, compassion, love, abnormal psychology, and falsehoods abound. Post-read, I've had trouble getting the themes and characters out of my head. The theme of a society outsider sticks out most for me: Myshkin in Switzerland looking at the outdoors, wanting to be a part of that natural world, then moving to StP. This was one of the hardest reads I've had to slug through in the past 100 books; Shmoop and the audiobook were very helpful. I'm glad I took the train ride. Pocket notes below. ____ Kolya ippolit and Mishkin, honest people living in a world of greed and self interest. Mishkin thinks he has a read on Nastashya. Nastashya in the center of a marriage twist, with deals, dowry, and alliances. Ganya and some other guy. General his wife and the three daughters. Lebodoskys monologue of the rails creating weaker souls. Ippolist monologue on the rich wasting their lives away while he only has months to live. Lizaveta not wanting Myshkin to marry, but silently in her heart she knows it's the right thing. Aglya acting all manic and Sadie Hawkins in the presence of Myshkin. Accusation of trust with Nastasya is interesting.

12 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-10-2018

Marathon

For English only speakers like myself, this book will be hard to follow at some points. That can be made easier if the listener either marathons sections of this book or regularly comes back to it. The character of the prince is delightful and human and it is his character that push

11 people found this helpful

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  • Client d'Amazon
  • 02-05-2018

deep book

I will be thinking about this one for a while. not a simple book by no means

11 people found this helpful

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  • Tobias Mihura
  • 28-06-2018

incredible

very appropriate reader with an impressive varied skillset of impersonations. his fluidity in reading is excellent too. the novel is top notch too

10 people found this helpful

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  • David
  • 15-10-2017

Perplexing, but thought provoking

I can't say that I loved every minute of it, but after a few months I still think of some of the chapters. it is definitely an interesting novel.

15 people found this helpful

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  • MR J.
  • 17-02-2017

Good but not his best

Having heard this, "Crime and Punishment" and "The Brothers Karamazov" I'd say this was the least satisfying in terms of philo/theo logical content and less enjoyable in terms of depth of characters involved.
Constantine Gregory (the narrator) is, as always, great, although the quality of this particular recording was poor - reverby and glitchy.

76 people found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 18-04-2018

easier to listen to than I expected

narration was excellent and made the Russian names easier to deal with than I expected in my first Russian literature audiobook. Got a little tedious in the middle but mostly enjoyable and was definitely worth sticking with to the end. I see the same narrator has read some more Dostoyevsky audiobooks so after a break I'll be back for more.

6 people found this helpful

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  • Ms T
  • 10-12-2018

So-so

The first quarter of this book was enjoyable as was the last quarter, but the half in the middle was lots of long and drawn out conversations, deliberations and musings. I found it difficult to stay focused and struggled through the lengthy rhetoric. I’ve read that this book closely mirrors Dostoevsky’s own thoughts and beliefs which is plain to see. I can’t fault the narration which was strong and precise.

4 people found this helpful

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  • Aaron Farnes
  • 31-08-2019

Bad reverberation and echo from the Narrators mic

Got less than 5 minutes in before I could no longer tolerate the poor audio quality.

2 people found this helpful

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  • luke
  • 12-06-2019

Meh.

I listen, work and have dyslexia so struggle with names. Russian names where tough and the voice acting though good a lot of the characters sound similar making it hard to follow. The story also doesn't help, there's some great moments, but on the whole long and dull, which is what the books about. Normal people living kinda normal lives. Amazing glimpse into a different time but will take a certain type to enjoy this book for it's entirety although there's snippets of gold to the end.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Anonymous User
  • 28-05-2018

excellent performance!

The performance of this great book is excellent, I definitely recommend it. Looking forward to listening to other books of the same performer

1 person found this helpful

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  • troy bettles
  • 30-08-2020

The Idiot

This is the second of Dostoyevsky's novels I've read, the other being Crime & Punishment, which I feel is superior. A tale of the 'everyday' which some may find boring, but is actually quite fascinating. Somethings never seem to translate to well from the Russian to English...the constant switching from surname to Christian & middle name can obfuscate & confuse, so close attention must be a prerequisite when listening to this book ! it has some very interesting characters too, my personal favourite being the "Munchausen" like General Ivolgin. I'd recommend the book. And Constantine Gregory performs well as the narrator.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 05-05-2020

Not All Bad

Firstly, I think this book was meant to be a play and not a novel. the action and events are so cramped. it feels like everything is taking place at once. secondly, I was annoyed by some of the pointless dribble that some characters are afforded the luxury to utter. the story seems like it is going to be good; but, it keeps getting sidetracked with unattractive, long-winded, and drawn out conversations. it's something to read, though I'm not sure it's worth it.

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  • Lavinia-Stefania
  • 06-06-2019

Perfect choice for a first audio book.

As always Dostoievski is a pleasure. And listening to a such a good interpretation made it more appealing to rather listen it then read it. It feels less weird when you get in to a fight with some other voice then yours. OK. Next please.

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  • Amazon Customer
  • 15-08-2018

Bit hard to follow

The performance is good but the Russian names sometimes make the characters in the story hard to follow.

1 person found this helpful