The Insulted & Injured, published soon after Dostoevsky's political imprisonment, clearly foreshadows his later preoccupation with unconscious psychological drives & their external effects on the lives of his characters. Where his later works carry these drives to inevitably dramatic conclusions, The Insulted & Injured confines them within the smaller boundaries of everyday event.
In this story the impulse toward self-abnegation in love, which appears so markedly in both Vanya & Natasha, isn't itself enough to direct their lives; instead, it combines with their social world & the mundane ambitions of Prince Valkovsky to defeat their hope of happiness. Of all the characters in the novel, only Natasha's lover, the Prince's son Alyosha-the person least driven to mold life to his own terms-emerges untouched.
Here are, to a greater extent than in Dostoevsky's more familiar works, flesh-&-blood people as we see them around every day. They are made up of both good & evil, of will & acceptance. Unfailingly they command interest & illuminate understanding.