A DOSTOYEVSKY COMIC NOVEL—THE DEMONS. An 11 1/2 hour production of Dostoyevsky’s THE DEMONS is going to be performed this weekend on Governor’s Island off New York City. I would be tempted to go if we lived in New York, especially because I reread THE DEMONS a couple months ago. It’s a great book. Joanne Kaufman had an article about Peter Stein, the man behind the production, in today’s Wall Street Journal. Stein read THE DEMONS recently after a lifetime of disliking Dostoyevsky, and I was struck by this quote from Stein: “I started to read and I thought it was nothing for me. It was ridiculous, something that could have been written by Noël Coward or Terence Rattigan. It was kind of a light comedy. Who marries who is nothing that has interested me very much.” The quote struck me because when I reread it, I also experienced the book as in large part a comedy, a drawing room comedy. Think of it. Dostoyevsky. A comic novel. Of course, the novel has some very dark parts, since it is also about terrorism.

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