Notes From Underground: Review

‘I am a sick man, I am a spiteful man…’

The opening of this book remains my favourite opening of all times. I have always dreaded to review anything written by Dostoevsky. But I am trying this once with this absolute beauty of a book.

I tell you solemnly, that I have many times tried to become an insect. But I was not equal even to that. I swear, gentlemen, that to be too conscious is an illness- a real thorough-going illness.

The underground man appears completely lost, he is trying hard to make through this cobweb of his own existential crisis; all through his narration he has realised that free will is a very deluded thing and in his revolt to justify his freedom he wishes to perhaps make sense through the beauty of existence of a disgusting insect. But he knows, a human being, who is conscious enough, cannot even become that. He is too aware of his own self, too aware of his own limitations and too aware of these societal delusions that he cannot even be privileged enough to be an insect.
(I cannot help but wonder if Kafka was inspired by this line to write down one of the most magnificent pieces of literature, the tale of Gregor Samsa. But about that some other time.)

I say let the world go to hell, but I should always have my tea.

He is being positively honest mirroring the narcissism of our own selves through the very crisis we ourselves conjure.



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