‘The Peasant Marey’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor 1876a

The Peasant Marey by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1876 Read the rest of this entry »

‘The Crocodile’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor 1865

The Crocodile by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1865 Read the rest of this entry »

‘Bobok’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor 1873

Bobok by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1873 Read the rest of this entry »

‘A Novel In Nine Letters’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor 1848b

A Novel In Nine Letters by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1847 Read the rest of this entry »

‘An Honest Thief’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor 1848a

An Honest Thief by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1848 Read the rest of this entry »

December 2014 favorites


December 2014

The December stories organized solely by my personal tastes.

  1. ‘Jeeves And The Yule-Tide Spirit’ by P.G. Wodehouse
  2. ‘The H Street Sledding Record’ by Ron Carlson
  3. ‘A Christmas Memory’ by Truman Capote
  4. ‘A Christmas Tree And A Wedding’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  5. ‘The Adventure Of The Blue Carbuncle’ by Arthur Conan Doyle
  6. ‘Christmas At Red Butte’ by Lucy Maud Montgomery
  7. ‘Christmas Eve’ by Maeve Brennan
  8. ‘One Christmas Eve’ by Langston Hughes
  9. ‘The Gift Of The Magi’ by O. Henry
  10. ‘Powder’ by Tobias Wolff
  11. ‘The Ledge’ by Lawrence Sargent Hall
  12. ‘A Child’s Christmas In Wales’ by Dylan Thomas
  13. ‘The Adventure Of The Christmas Pudding’ by Agatha Christie
  14. ‘The Christmas Wreck’ by Frank Stockton
  15. ‘At Christmas Time’ by Anton Chekhov
  16. ‘Christmas Day In The Morning’ by Pearl S. Buck
  17. ‘The Little Match Girl’ by Hans Christian Andersen
  18. ‘Markheim’ by Robert Louis Stevenson
  19. ‘Christmas Is A Sad Season For The Poor’ by John Cheever
  20. ‘The Burglar’s Christmas’ by Willa Cather
  21. ‘Papa Panov’s Special Christmas’ by Leo Tolstoy
  22. ‘The Beggar Boy At Christ’s Christmas Tree’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  23. ‘A New Year’s Gift’ by Guy de Maupassant
  24. ‘The Christmas Banquet’ by Nathaniel Hawthorne
  25. ‘The Best Christmas Ever’ by James Patrick Kelly
  26. ‘Christmas Eve’ by Guy de Maupassant

‘The Beggar Boy At Christ’s Christmas Tree’ by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Dostoyevsky, Fyodor 1876

The Beggar Boy At Christ’s Christmas Tree by Fyodor Dostoyevsky, 1876

The magic trick:

The brief, first-person frame narration

It isn’t much. Two sentences at the start. Three sentences at the end. But it’s an interesting technique. Dostoyevsky eschews the standard third-person narration by inserting himself (or some unnamed writer) as the storyteller. This lends the story a bit more authority, a bit more truth somehow. As the story develops and the reader learns of the tragic subject matter, this “real-life” assertion in the frame further emphasizes the piece’s social conscience. And that’s quite a trick on Dostoyevsky’s part.

The selection:

I am a novelist, and I suppose I have made up this story. I write “I suppose,” though I know for a fact that I have made it up, but yet I keep fancying that it must have happened on Christmas Eve in some great town in a time of terrible frost.