Fyodor Dostoyevski. Not an easy read. If you dare to pick him up, though, you are in for a soul-endangering ride skirting the cliffs of your certainties. Ultimately, hopefully, you will come away with more compassion and thirst for beauty in your life.
If you never read his books but always had an interest, visit his museum in Semey. His time spent here was a big inspiration for his work.
If you are already a fan, you are going to enjoy it and want to start re-reading. If Russian literature is not exactly your thing (nobody’s blaming you), skip it and go to the Polygon instead.
The museum, housed in his living quarters during the last part of his exile (his other house was recently destroyed to make way for a bank), is well laid-out and gives a good overview of Dostoyevski’s life and work. Sadly, most explanations are in Russian only. There might be an English-speaking guide available.
After the introduction to his early years, the focus goes to the hard years of forced labour he spent in Omsk and the subsequent lighter years of exile in Semipalatinsk. Plenty of handwritten letters and pieces of manuscript will delight the fans, but otherwise there are few artefacts from his lifetime.
Haunting artwork and black-and-white pictures from Dostoyevski himself and his fellow prisoners are some of the most memorable exhibits.
Dostoyevski’s work space is recreated in the basement. His original writing desk still stands, with early editions of some of his books displayed. There are lots of other antiques from the time gathered in the room, from a grammophone to glassware. You can also dress up in era costumes for a little fee!
The entry fee to the museum is little.