Dark, dirty, unclean, much wisdom in its pages, the story set out what it intended to do. The drugs are actually a minuscule part of the book. The horror comes from the way the narrator’s mind works and the actions that result from that. A friend pointed out that early on, the narrator speaks of having a disease, similarly to the way Dostoevsky’s narrator in The Underground Man begins with “I am a sick man.” After considering that, and other events and thoughts that occur in the two books, I would go so far as to say that Vadim is the embodiment of the underground man. There are many who would not like to visit the world Ageyev paints, but he painted it well, in colors of mud. Well done character study with a lot of depth.