A new translation of Dostoevsky's classic novel, NOTES FROM A DEAD HOUSE, is available from Knopf. Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky did the translating.
This gives Christine Smallwood an opportunity to offer her observations on the novel in the March issue of HARPER'S.
"The book is largely plotless, a record of institutional habits and routines, though little scenes and colorful dramas emerge....Toward the end of the book, two prisoners run off intending to escape for good, and for eight days it seems they have succeeded. They are celebrated and admired until they are found and returned, when they are mocked, humiliated."