Notes from [the] Underground - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

I read this book because I had noticed a quotation prefacing "American Psycho", one of my favourite books.

The book is about a man who is a failure at everything and continually struggles to save face. He has a hard time trying to interact with the outside world, and thus inflicts much of his anger on himself.

When he goes to a dinner with people he hasn't seen for a long time he gets humiliated and makes a scene. He broods over plans to avenge himself but later on changes his mind and decides to apologise with eloborate lies.

This book was pretty interesting but not great. It's hard to get excited about a pathetic character. Despite this, he did have some interesting ideas. For example his theory on people deliberatly doing things disadvantagous to themselves just to affirme their free will. And his speech on love was beautiful, although we later learn that he didn't mean a word of it. It turns out that he considers himself althogether incapable of love, just as the leading character of American Psycho.

After I read a study guide on this book the central themes and ideas became much clearer to me. It's one of those books where the context is a key feature to understanding the ideas and events.
LINK: Study guide