Notes From The Underground is a dark and demented narrative, scrawled by an anonymous writer who is clearly intelligent, profound and philosophical yet is draped in a sheath of bitter hatred against everyone and everything.
After an existential rant about mans hidden love of pain and anguish, the anonymous narrator goes on to tell us about a short period of his life during which he is faces great humiliation, a cringe worthy conflict with former school friends and the unwanted emotion that arises after sleeping with a prostitute.
Like much of Dostoevsky’s work, Notes From The Underground is not about the story but about understanding the human mind. The anonymous anti-hero is the epitome of all the deranged, ludicrous, hate filled thoughts and emotions the human mind is capable off.
As we follow the story teller, the reader is constantly swung between a Napoleon complex of higher intellect, bravery and one-upmanship to a state of pure depression, fear and utter hatred of oneself and the world.
This is by far Dostoyevsky’s darkest work, and although it is not as well known as the likes of The Idiot, Crime and Punishment and the Brothers Karamazov it is just as enjoyable and in fact can be seen as the catalyst for the main characters that appear in the later and more established novels.
During the first 20 pages or so, whilst the narrator is simply lost in a complex rant about man and mind, it is pretty hard going. However, once into full flow, it is surprisingly easy to read, despite the sometimes delirious tangents the narrator wanders down.
It may not be his most revered novel, but Notes From The Underground is a superb look into the human psyche and I believe would make a great introduction to for anyone looking to try out Dostoyevsky for the first time.