Art imitates life in this brilliant psychological study of a compulsive gambler, modeled on Dostoevsky's own tendencies. Like so many characters in Dostoevsky's novels, Alexei, a young tutor working in the household of an imperious Russian general, is trying to break through the wall of the established order and the human condition itself, but instead he is drawn into the vortex of the roulette wheel. His intense addiction is accentuated by his affair with the general's cruel, seductive niece.
With unforgettable characterizations, this novel explores the emotional roller coaster, changing fortunes, tangled love affairs, and complicated lives of the fashionable German gambling set. It is also a stunning psychological portrait.