Liquorature Gathering #018 – “The Idiot” (Fyodor Dostoyevsky)
Date: July, 2010
The Idiot – Fyodor Dostoevsky
Whisky: Yamazaki 12 yr old (Japan)
Rum: Old Port DeLuxe (India), Mount Gay Extra Old (Barbados), El Dorado 5 yr old (Guyana). (Also sampled: Appleton 30 yr old, Kraken Black and Clemente agricole)
Cane night at Chez Surujbally. Our host extraordinaire not only trotted out a fine selection of new bottles, but also broke open a swath from own stash. I think there were 10 rums altogether that got battered, as well as 3 whiskies. Lance was kind enough to allow me nips at both the Johnnie Walker Blue and the Glenlivet 21 Archive, both of which will have reviews up in the coming days.
A gorgeous summer eve led us all out to Lance’s back deck to sit in the sun and watch the day end. For only the second time we allowed a visitor to sit on for a session. The famous, or infamous, Sir Bear (Keenan) joined us for this evening of carousing. True to Lance’s word Keenan was not only a tangible being, but a gentleman and a scholar. In a bold move, Lance’s enticement of the Bear involved an invitation to select the book for our gathering. Hence…’The Idiot’.
Keenan is a brave man. Not sure I would have wanted the responsibility of picking a book for a group of people I had never met. Though I won’t say everyone enjoyed it…I will say that it was a good selection. We had a whirlwind of conversation on this one. I think we probably spent a solid couple hours on the book all told. The consensus? Uh…not so good. Most took exception to the title character’s seeming lack of spine or sack. The meandering Victorian language and frustrating lack of action…ANY action…were deal-breakers for most. A few things stood out in positive relief however. A few passages were existentialist Dostoyevsky at his best (mostly the end)…a couple of great humorous scenes…some ridiculous (though very broad stroke) characters…and the best thing of all for some of the gang? To be able to say they have now read Dostoyevsky.
The everyman’s meal (chili) was a success as well. The gents lauded Surujbally’s culinary prowess (notice I said ‘Surujbally’…and not ‘Lance’….this way if it was Kym who did the deed…I’m still covered). I don’t believe there is such thing as a red n’ white blooded Canadian who doesn’t love chili.
The night’s sipping (and dear gawd…there was a lot of it)…started for this guy with two higher end whiskies that Lance has been nudging me to review for a while now. The always disappointing Johnnie Walker Blue (Sorry, guys) and the rather delectable Glenlivet 21. Aside from appreciation for the drams, I’ll say no more here. Look under reviews in the near future. After that it was on to the Yamazaki for me, and a whole schwackload of rum for the rest. I sampled a couple, but find the stuff is just too…well…not for me.
The Bear and the gang seemed tickled pink with choice though. As there were simply too many on offer to keep track of, I’ll let the boys’ comments below attest to quality of what was out. There was more than a little stumbling after all was said and done. Again…anyone who cares to confess their sins can do below. Under the whole ‘what happens in Liquorature…stays in Liquorature’ clause it is verboten to rat out another…HOWEVER…if said individuals care to consider their (mis)deeds as a badge of honor…hey…confession is good for the soul (and a few laughs!).
A great night full of laughter and mockery. Keenan was a welcome addition for the eve. Nice guy, open and involved…contributed more than just a book selection. Glad we finally met, sir. Hope to see more of you in the future.
The rewards of tackling Dostoyevsky are many, but for a few of the gang it is simply to round out the bell curve. This was will be low ranked for most. As always though…all conceded that it allows that frame of reference that you carry forward. I’d be lying if I said there wasn’t a sense of relief at moving into the next couple of selections.
…making mad rubles…the literary equivalent of Buckley’s…Archie became the new wrestling/Star Trek (but fear not…the boys still brought up this tripe as well)…the hedgehog and Milo Minderbinder…’the best scotch I ever had was rum’…mount gay marriage…an afterparty at the Bull…the Iron Sheik…
Until next we meet…Slainte!