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The Gambler Wife
The Gambler Wife: A True Story of Love, Risk, and the Woman Who Saved Dostoyevsky | Andrew D. Kaufman
2 posts | 1 read | 1 to read
Feminism, history, literature, politicsthis tale has all of that, and a heroine worthy of her own turn in the spotlight. Therese Anne Fowler, bestselling author of Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald A revelatory new portrait of the courageous woman who saved Dostoyevskys lifeand became a pioneer in Russian literary history In the fall of 1866, a twenty-year-old stenographer named Anna Snitkina applied for a position with a writer she idolized: Fyodor Dostoyevsky. A self-described emancipated girl of the sixties, Snitkina had come of age during Russias first feminist movement, and Dostoyevskya notorious radical turned acclaimed novelisthad impressed the young woman with his enlightened and visionary fiction. Yet in person she found the writer terribly unhappy, broken, tormented, weakened by epilepsy, and yoked to a ruinous gambling addiction. Alarmed by his condition, Anna became his trusted first reader and confidante, then his wife, and finally his business managerlaunching one of literatures most turbulent and fascinating marriages. The Gambler Wife offers a fresh and captivating portrait of Anna Dostoyevskaya, who reversed the novelists freefall and cleared the way for two of the most notable careers in Russian lettersher husbands and her own. Drawing on diaries, letters, and other little-known archival sources, Andrew Kaufman reveals how Anna warded off creditors, family members, and her greatest romantic rival, keeping the young family afloat through years of penury and exile. In a series of dramatic set pieces, we watch as she navigates the writers self-destructive binges in the casinos of Europeeven hazarding an audacious turn at roulette herselfuntil his addiction is conquered. And, finally, we watch as Anna frees her husband from predatory contracts by founding her own publishing house, making Anna the first solo female publisher in Russian history. The result is a story that challenges ideas of empowerment, sacrifice, and female agency in nineteenth-century Russiaand a welcome new appraisal of an indomitable woman whose legacy has been nearly lost to literary history.
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Sophronisba
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I'm not sure how big the audience is for a biography of Dostoyevsky's second wife, but I really enjoyed this book. Anna was a fascinating, complicated woman, and it's such a joy to read biographies of people who may not be household names but still had rich, eventful, interesting lives.

Cathythoughts Great review! Stacked. 10mo
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Sophronisba
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Anna Grigoreyevna Snitkina was born in Petersburg on August 30, 1846, the balmy feast day of the thirteenth-century warrior-prince Saint Alexander Nevsky, amid the sonorous ringing of monastery bells and the solemn strains of a military band. Later in life, she would say that the timing and ceremonial spirit of her arrival in the world were no coincidence.

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