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I read a novella about 10 years ago, which I thought was written by Dostoevsky, but I haven't been able to find it since.

Plot: A middle-aged man stands near the body of his girlfriend (or wife) who has died by suicide (though the cause of death is not apparent initially). He begins to recount their story from the day they met until the day she died, deeply mourning her loss.

Do you know which book this might be?

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  • “…and till they come to get me, I shall hold your hand in mine.” ♫  (Sorry, could not resist!)
    – gidds
    Apr 13 at 13:54

1 Answer 1

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Could this be A Gentle Creature (also known as The Meek One) by Dostoevsky?

It is of novella length, and opens with a middle-aged man pacing about his room, where the body of his wife lies dead on the table. We subsequently learn that she committed suicide by jumping out of a window, and the novella deals with the man going over the past, trying to find the reasons that drove her to commit this deed. It begins with them meeting - he worked as a pawnbroker and she used to bring items to pawn. As he took a fancy to her he would give her more than the items were worth. Eventually they get married, and although the union was happy at first, he eventually drives her towards her suicide.

Goodreads summarises the tale as:

In this compelling study of despair, based on a real-life incident, a pawnbroker mourns the loss of his wife, a quiet, gentle young girl. Why has she killed herself? Could he have prevented it? These are the questions the pawnbroker asks himself as he pieces together past events and minor incidents, changes of mood and passing glances, in his search for an answer that will relieve his torment.

The story is available for free loan from the Internet Archive.

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