When it comes to literature, Dostoevsky’s name will sure pop-up in the conversation. One of the most acclaimed writers of all times, Dostoevsky’s reputation is still tremendous. Therefore, we decided to do a ranking of Dostoevsky’s top-10 novels, starting from less great (because he does not have bad books) to masterpieces.
Before we start, we have to mention that Dostoevsky has written novels, novellas, short stories, essays, translations and more. However, for the sake of this article, we only pick up Dostoevsky’s top-10 novels and we rank them. ”Netochka Nezvanova”, ”The Village of Stepanchikovo”, ”The Eternal Husband” and “The Adolescent” did not manage to get on the list but they deserve an honorable mention.
Number 10: ”The Double”
”The Double” is Dostoevsky’s second novel. The depth of his characters is unique. An easy start, though, if you haven’t read any Dostoevsky yet, or if you have missed this one, cause of its small size.
Number 9: “Poor Folk“
In many cases, the first novel of a writer is a masterpiece and then they try to catch up with the same greatness, but they do not achieve it. That was not the case with Dostoevsky. He published “Poor Folk” in 1846, at the age of 25. Critics of his time praised the book as one of the first social novels. And they were not wrong. The presentation of the plot through letters the two protagonists send to each other, was very innovative at that time. Less than 150 pages, if you start now with Dostoevsky and want to do it chronologically, this is the best start.
Number 8: “The House of the Dead“
Dostoevsky’s experiences as a prisoner in a Siberian camp are present throughout this book. Conversations he had with other prisoners, philosophical questions and an authentic narration of life in Siberia, this is a book you need to add to your list and deserve its place in Dostoevsky’s top-10 novels
Number 7: “The Gambler“
You have huge gambling debts and the only way to pay them off is by writing a novel in one month. Most of the writers who would manage to finish this book, would not give something of great quality. But, when we speak about Dostoevsky, these things do not matter. Dostoevsky manages to describe his gambling addiction with honesty. He published this book in 1866, when he was already famous. And yet, he managed to improve his status (but not the financial one) even more.
Number 6: ”Humiliated and Insulted”
It is a great novel with two main plots, intercepting one another. But, if we speak about Dostoevsky, that’s not enough. Although the characters’ depth is outstanding, the pace of the novel does not help with it. It is still an excellent book and totally recommend it, but there are better below.
Number 5: “The Idiot“
From now on, it starts getting extremely difficult. Many critics rank higher “The Idiot”, and we do not blame them. Prince Myskhin is a good-hearted, moral person who does not wish harm to anyone. And the other characters of the book receive this kindness as lack of intelligence. And they want to take advantage of it. Although the book has more than 700 pages, its pace and dialogues make it an easy (as easy as it can be when you read Dostoevsky) read.
Number 4: ”Notes from Underground”
Intellectual, philosophical, inhumane, obsessive, extravagant, unique. Those are only a few of the adjectives that can describe “Notes from Underground”. A novel written in first-person narrative where the ”I” is both present and absent. A difficult experience, which becomes even more difficult if you cannot read in Russian. It is considered one of the most difficult books to be translated, so check very carefully the reviews of the edition you are going to get when you go to read this book.\
Number 3: “Devils”
“Devils” (or “Demons” or “The Possessed) is the revelation of nihilism to its greatest extent. Moral questions such atheism and suicide appear for the first time so openly. Stavrogin, the main character, will do everything to achieve his goals. And his behavior and actions will have huge impact to his circle, both family and his nihilist group. Revolutionaries without a cause in a period where the Russian Empire had a Czar who did not care about the lives of his people.
Number 1: “Crime and Punishment” and “The Karamazov Brothers”
You cannot ask parents to choose between their kids. Therefore, it would be unethical for us to rank as number two either of these books. They are simply both masterpieces. 10/10. No doubt for that. Both “Crime and Punishment” and “The Karamazov Brothers” belonged, belong and will belong to the highest peaks literature can ever achieve. Essays after essays have been written about these two glorious books. No words can describe the emotions you feel after you read them. Therefore, it is the best way to close this article by simply suggesting you to make a gift to yourselves and to your friends and read these two masterpieces.