The first-person narrative form is notoriously problematic. Throughout the history of the novel, it has both repelled authors due to the obvious limitations imposed by its restriction to a single consciousness and attracted them because of the apparent veracity it imparts to psychological portrayal. In the most conscientiously constructed examples of the type, the first-person narrator is able to portray directly the thoughts of a single character only, that is, himself. Of other characters, he can only report actions and surmise motives, and these characters to whom the reader does not have cognitive privilege may appear to be two-dimensional or even come off as caricatures.
Fedor Dostoevskii's Besy (Demons, 1871-72) is a first-person memoir novel. My thesis is that the novel's narrative form itself involves the reader psychologically and morally in problems that occupied Dostoevskii throughout his life—problems of freedom, contingency, and eternity.