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Summer in Baden-Baden

by Leonid Tsypkin

An intriguing book which is strangely compelling. The author is obsessed with another writer - Dostoyevsky. On a train journey across Russia to Leningrad he reads a journal which gives an insight into the life and marriage of Dostoyevsky who travelled with his wife to Baden-Baden in the 1870s. If you'd welcome the chance to share in this fascinating journey then climb on board and let the book pull you into their story. Allow plenty of time to wallow in its long descriptive passages - perfect to reflect the intensity of the tormented hero.

Extract

The Dostoyevskys would visit the art-gallery every day in the same way as people in Kislovodsk drop in to the kursaal to take the waters, for a rendezvous or simply to stand about observing the comings and goings, and then go to lunch - looking for a cheaper-style restaurant, but a place which would provide them with good food and trustworthy waiters - always the Dostoyesvkys found they were cheated out of two or three silver groschen as all Germans were undeniably unscrupulous - after the usual gallery visit they once chose the Bruhlsche Terrasse, placed picturesquely over the Elbe - the waiter had been spotted on a previous visit and dubbed the 'diplomat', as he looked like one - and into the bargain they had caught him charging twice the price for a cup of coffee - five groschen instead of two and a half - but they outsmarted him when Anna Grigor'yevna had slipped him the two and a half groschen, given them as change, back to him as a tip in place of five - but this time they were very hungry, especially Fedya, and instead of attending their table, the 'diplomat' busied himself with a later arrival, some Saxon officer with fleshy red nose and yellowish eyes, his whole appearance that of a drinker - and although Fedya called to the waiter, he continued, with imperturbable expression, to serve the officer ... revenge by the 'diplomat for their last encounter...
Translated by Roger & Angela Keys

Parallels

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
 

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