So as not to interrupt the narrative flow, the sources are given only at the back of the book. It’s a witty motif which works well, not least because it immerses us in the forcefield of Dostoevsky’s thought, which Christofi also employs to explain his own waywardness ... Novelists tend to make good biographers, not least because they know how to shape a story, and it is no mean feat to boil Dostoevsky’s epic life down to 256 pulse-thumping pages. Dostoevsky in Love is beautifully crafted and realised, but it is the great love that Christofi feels for his subject that makes this such a moving book.
... a brief, fierce account of Dostoevsky’s inner and outer life ... The book doesn’t aim to rival standard biographies — above all, Joseph Frank’s five-volume masterwork — but it does dodge smartly past the forbidding mystic monster of the textbooks to find the all-too-human pilgrim through extremities beneath ... Christofi’s rapidly unrolling tapestry helps to capture the madcap, tumbling and ferocious quality of Dostoevsky’s style — a fizzing energy lost, scholars claim, in too-polite translations. Save for a few odd lapses when his editor dozed, Christofi’s own writing helps restore the elements of risk and shock to a writer whose storytelling became 'the skin that kept distance between his tender heart and the cruelties of the world'. He understands that wild Dostoevsky can flay the reader’s defences into ribbons, as Olympian Tolstoy cannot.
... inventive ... Christofi has created an immersive and visceral journey through the life of the revolutionary author ... It is to the biographer’s credit that this feels like a cinematic thriller with one of those protagonists that you want to grasp by the shoulders and shake, though you also enjoy his exploits in the manner of an overblown Hollywood blockbuster. There are passages brimming with Hitchcock-style suspense ... The biographer’s dedication is clear. Like a literary sleuth, Christofi has lovingly spliced Dostoevsky’s inner life to expose its brilliant complexity to us, and to those with little knowledge of the author’s work. The myriad identities of the man are encompassed here in a thrilling literary ride: a revolutionary and occasional traditionalist; philosopher and prisoner; lover and family man; summoned to life with such creative flair that surely the great writer himself would have approved.