2-minute Review: “The Queen of Spades”

A Review Of: The Queen of Spades

by Alexander Pushkin

Rating: 3.5/5

Recommendation: Skip it.

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I read the Feedbooks ebook of this story. I prefer their ebook formatting, but Gutenberg is available in more formats.

“The Queen of Spades” is very Russian. Very 19th century. You might have read it in a class. Unless you’re steeped in the historical context, just keep reading the story, and it will start to make sense.

Alexander Pushkin is kind of a big deal. He wrote poetry, novels, plays and short stories. If you haven’t heard of him, go ahead and look him up. If you read “The Queen of Spades,” you can also brag at parties that, yes, you’ve read some Pushkin.

“The Queen of Spades” is a story about obsessions. Obsessions over money, secrets, control and romance drive the central characters forward. It’s a quick read, but there’s plenty to explore thematically. All of the characters are flawed but portrayed with sympathy.

One character, Lizaveta, is perhaps more sympathetic than the rest. She is placed in the unfortunate position of being pushed and pulled between two strong personalities, but she is not entirely innocent herself. A very delicate triangle of guilt remains well-balanced throughout the story, making for some difficult unpacking later, if that’s something that interests you.

The ending is not unpredictable. It’s a story to read for meaning, setting and drama, not for plot