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The enigmatic Stavrogin dominates the novel. His magnetic personality influences his tutor, the liberal intellectual poseur Stepan Verhovensky, and the teacher’s revolutionary son Pyotr, as well as other radicals.
Stavrogin is portrayed as a man of strength without direction, capable of goodness and nobility. When Stavrogin loses his faith in God, however, he is seized by brutal desires he does not fully understand.
Widely considered the greatest political novel ever written, The Possessed showcases Dostoevsky’s brilliant characterization, amazing insight into the human heart, and crushing criticism of the desire to manipulate the thought and behavior of others.
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By Erez on 10-27-09
Better wait for Simon Vance to read this one...
I'm a huge Dostoyevsky fan, but I found it very hard to enjoy (or, indeed, follow) this audiobook. Mr. Cullen has a very good voice, but, with one or two exceptions, all his characters sound exactly the same. What's even worse, he gives no cues for the change in speaker, which makes many of dialogues in the book almost unintelligible. In a printed book we have paragraph breaks; in this audiobook there is nothing. Another minor (but annoying) feature of his narration is that he occasionally lowers his voice to a whisper. For anyone who listens to the audiobook while commuting, or in any other environment that is not completely quiet, this can be quite frustrating.
In other words: unless for some reason you have to have this audiobook now, I would suggest waiting for a different version.
17 of 17 people found this review helpful
By Kim on 04-16-10
WARNING: A Totally Botched Narration!
Don't even THINK about buying this - the worst narrator in the history of audiobooks. The novel is one of the masterpieces of Western literature, yet no one at Audible saw fit to conduct quality control. It is impossible to follow the story. The narrator seems not even to understand the sentences he is reading. Wrong inflection, hammy, wrongheaded, bombastic, simply an embarrassment. I suffered through about two hours of this hoping that somehow he would get the hang of it, since there are no other audio versions. Finally I gave up in disgust. I have listened to many audiobooks, but nothing comes close to this fiasco. It is so bad that it should not even be offered for sale.
13 of 13 people found this review helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By J. Mann on 11-18-11
This is a wonderful story with Dostoyevsky really at the height of his powers - I believe this was written shortly before The Brothers Karamazov and served as a build up to it, touching on many similar themes. As with other classic Dostoyevsky is is about love and death, meaning and God, the old and the new, religion and science, but always with wonderful characters and inventive and touching story lines.
Something I'd like Audible to consider is making a synopsis of an audio book available. With a story like this it is sometimes possible to miss a key fact or statement and then you are left a little stranded for the rest of the chapter, I found I had to go back to the book to check I had understood what was happening, which isn't really the point of having an audio book.
6 of 7 people found this review helpful
By LondonLass on 03-23-18
A great book ruined by the reader
Would you try another book written by Fyodor Dostoyevsky or narrated by Patrick Cullen?
I certainly wouldn't buy anything that Patrick Cullen reads.
What was the most interesting aspect of this story? The least interesting?
I don't know. Cullen's reading was so monotonous and irritating.
How did the narrator detract from the book?
There was hardly any differentiation in the voices, so it was often difficult to know which character was speaking but even worse, Cullen had the habit of suddenly throwing a sharp and completely unnecessary emphasis on a couple of words--usually towards the end of the sentence. It was like someone drumming the table with his fingers in an endlessly repeating pattern. It was just awful.
If you could play editor, what scene or scenes would you have cut from The Possessed?
I can't tell you much about the book, my appreciation of it was completely spoiled by the reader's performance.