This book had its moments, but on general, it pains me to say that it was mediocre. Now when I'm thinking about it, some great quotes are coming to my mind, but that's all, and hence the three stars.
I am a strong admirer of Dostoyevsky. His The Brothers Karamazov and Crime and Punishment took my breath away with their beauty and insight. I would be interested to know what Dostoyevsky thought about this book (If someone knows then please comment), because I think it's quite different from his other works. In the Idiot, the main character is so detached from reality, that you wonder sometimes what is it that you'll get away from this book. There's a beautiful quote in this very book which explains what I'm trying to say. (Podkoleosin is a character in Gogol's comedy, The Wedding)."Authors, as a rule, attempt to select and portray types rarely met with in their entirety, but these types are nevertheless more real than real life itself.
"Podkoleosin" was perhaps an exaggeration, but he was by no means a non-existent character; on the contrary, how many intelligent people, after hearing of this Podkoleosin from Gogol, immediately began to find that scores of their friends were exactly like him! They knew, perhaps, before Gogol told them, that their friends were like Podkoleosin, but they did not know what name to give them.
Raskolnikov, Ivan, Alyosha, Dimitri and Smerdyakov are indeed profound real-life characters, but Myshkin in my view is nearly non-existent. At least in the world as I see it. Some may say that he is quite like Alyosha, but I disagree. Alyosha, unlike Myshkin, acknowledged evil and dealt with it in his own fashion, which made him such a profound character.
While reading the book, I realized that I was not connecting with all the characters and not just Myshkin. When I read the quote aruond the end, I realized what was precisely the problem. Ironic that it is his insight that helped me fully understand why I didn't like the book as much as his other works. Should I rate it more than 3 stars?