A seminal text of Existentialism, Notes from Underground is one of the finest works of Dostoyevsky, and one that captures the special quality that is most distinguishable in him. His characters are irrational, passionate, full of zeal and enthusiasm, who find themselves in circumstances that capture their essence in a way that makes the reader spellbound by Dostoyevsky's genius and deep insights about the human psyche. They most beautifully show what really means to be human, especially one who cannot help but think and feel about her place in the cosmos.
In this book, he shows exactly how some of the most important scientific discoveries, when led to their logical conclusions, can generate a sense of bewilderment and despair that is a class of its own and cannot be sketched as nihilistic or depressive. The reaction to the scientific discoveries of 19th century, which are not quite different in their implications than those of today, is best demonstrated when the author of the notes (the anti-hero
of the book) contemplates about what is the essence of anger, love, free-will, and even the entire human life. How when confronted with the somewhat uncaring reality that these are mere formulas, which in principal can be explained through jottings of several lines on a sheet of paper, we sink into angst which is beyond repair and consolation and just to escape it we try to occupy ourselves by not living a "real-life". However, we may think that we have succeeded in avoiding the beast, it stays in a dark corner of our mind sharpening its claws and waiting for the right opportunity to attack and throw us again into despair.
I believe the character of this book is much more real than most of us want to believe. It demonstrate an outlook that we are bound to have if we are only to try to understand the origin of the universe and our insignificant place in it.