The Double

  • by Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Narrated by Stefan Rudnicki
  • 6 hrs and 33 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

First published in 1846, Fyodor Dostoyevsky's novella The Double is a classic doppelgänger and the second major work published by the author. It is the story of Yakov Petrovich Golyadkin, a government clerk who believes that a fellow clerk has taken over his identity and is determined to bring about his ruin. Considered the most Gogolesque of Dostoevsky's works, the novella brilliantly depicts Golyadkin's descent into madness in a way that is hauntingly poetic. The Double illustrates Dostoevsky's uncanny ability at capturing the complexity of human emotion, especially the darker side of the human psyche.


What the Critics Say

"Not one of the author's better-known works, this 1846 novel introduces Golyadkin, a man who one day meets his exact double....Golyadkin's happy life spirals downward into paranoia and neurosis as his friends begin to abandon him for the doppelganger." (Library Journal)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

A nightmare

A nightmare: Mr Goliadkin, a Russian bureaucrat, finds his life falling apart, and to make matters worse, someone who looks exactly like him, and has the same name, shows up and appears to be conspiring against him. Things do not end well for Mr Goliadkin.

I can't think of anything else I've read by Dostoevsky where the narrator had such a loose grip on reality. The action is presented from Goliadkin's point of view, and it's hard to tell when he's seeing something for real and when he's hallucinating. The prose itself, with its repetitions of key words, especially proper names, begins to have a hallucinatory quality. Goliadkin slides into full-blown paranoia, and at times he takes us with him.

Richard Pevar, in the introduction to his translation of the book - not the one used here - says two things about it that seem wrong to me. He says that Goliadkin isn't an example of "the abnormal and pathological," but an attempt on Dostoevsky's part to explore a "normal human soul, but by means of an extreme case and a bold device." And he says that Dostoevsky came back to this theme later, with greater artistry, in "Notes from the Underground." For this non-expert reader, it's hard to see any other interpretation Goliadkin's ruminations but a gradually worsening schizophrenia; and the narrator of "Underground," as compulsively self-conscious as he is, doesn't seem quite so unhinged.

Like many of Dostoevsky's characters, Goliadkin combines a paralyzing and suffocating self-consciousness with an appalling lack of self-awareness.

Stefan Rudnicki gives a powerful reading, conveying Goliadkin's desperation and paranoia with real anguish. And he also conveys the repetitive rhythms of the prose without overemphasizing them. Probably the best thing I could say about him is that my cat purrs when Rudnicki is on the speaker.
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- Tad Davis

Didn't like the story

Didn’t like the story so much. I liked Dostoyevsky other books better...
The plot was too slow and boring
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- Gambit

Book Details

  • Release Date: 04-23-2009
  • Publisher: Blackstone Audio, Inc.