Andrew D. Kaufman Book Launch: The Gambler Wife

404 E. Main St., Charlottesville, VA 22902


  • Presented By: New Dominion Bookshop
  • Dates: November 13, 2021
  • Location: New Dominion Bookshop
  • Time: 4:00 PM to 5:00 PM


Join us as we celebrate the release of Andrew D. Kaufman’s new book, The Gambler Wife: A True Story of Love, Risk, and the Woman Who Saved Dostoyevsky. This in-person event will be free and open to the public. We recommend arriving early for best seating.

About the Book: In the fall of 1866—against the backdrop of Russia’s first feminist movement—an independent-minded young stenographer named Anna Snitkina went to work for a writer she idolized: Fyodor Dostoevsky. The volatile and visionary novelist was already a celebrated literary provocateur, yet Anna found him “terribly unhappy, broken, tormented,” sickened by epilepsy, anguished by the recent loss of his wife—and in thrall to a gambling addiction that kept him on the verge of emotional and financial ruin.

Shocked by his condition, the strong-willed Anna became his confidante, his manager, and, within months, his wife—launching one of literature’s most turbulent and fascinating marriages. Now, for the first time, The Gambler Wife gives us a rich and psychologically acute portrait of the complex power dynamic between the tortured Fyodor, who created his greatest works (including The Possessed and The Brothers Karamazov) under her care, and the courageous Anna, who inspired Dostoyevsky, directed his career—and became the first woman in Russia to run her own publishing house.

Full of dramatic setpieces, and drawing on a trove of unseen writings, The Gambler Wife is a story of love, addiction, and redemption, and a rediscovery of a woman whose pioneering life has been all but erased from literary history.

About the Author: Andrew D. Kaufman is an associate professor, general faculty, and lecturer in Slavic Languages and Literatures, and assistant director of the Center for Teaching Excellence at the University of Virginia. A PhD in Slavic Languages and Literatures from Stanford University, Kaufman is the author of Give War and Peace a Chance: Tolstoyan Wisdom for Troubled Times and Understanding Tolstoy, and coauthor of Russian for Dummies. His work has been featured on Today, NPR, and PBS, and in The Washington Post, and he has served as a Russian literature expert for Oprah’s Book Club. He is also the creator of Books Behind Bars, introducing incarcerated youth to the writings of Dostoyevsky and other authors.