The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

Book - 1996
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The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky's crowning achievement, is a tale of patricide & family rivalry that embodies the moral & spiritual dissolution of an entire society (Russia in the 1870s). It created a national furor comparable only to the excitement stirred by the publication, in 1866, of Crime & Punishment. To Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov captured the quintessence of Russian character in all its exaltation, compassion, & profligacy. Significantly, the book was on Tolstoy's bedside table when he died. Readers in every language have since accepted Dostoevsky's own evaluation of this work & have gone further by proclaiming it one of the few great novels of all ages & countries.
Publisher: New York : Modern Library, [1996], c1995.
Edition: 1996 Modern Library ed.
ISBN: 9780679601814
0679601813
Call Number: DOSTOYEVSKY
Characteristics: xxi, 880 p. ; 21 cm.
Subjects: Fathers and sons -- Fiction.
Brothers -- Fiction.
Russia -- Social life and customs -- 1533-1917 -- Fiction.
Didactic fiction.
Additional Contributors: Garnett, Constance 1861-1946.

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Some will take the Grand Inquisitor segment as encouragement to interrogation, even to do so on their own relatives. These people, had they not left Germany in the '40s and 30s, would have worked for Stasi, in East Germany, and their families would have been proud. These people could have read Orwell's 1984, and not gotten the point, but would have identified with the character O'Brien in his quest to get the main character, Winston Smith, to recant his resistance to the state. // The decent short story, by William Carlos Williams, THE USE OF FORCE, would have been read straight by these people, and possibly would have motivated them in their pseudo-doctor ways. // The phrase BIG BROTHER LOVES YOU, would not have made them blink, or broken their stride on the way to the garbage can outside the fish fast food joint, where they fished out an uneaten, thrown away, salmon sandwich, went to the counter to ask for a fresh new bag, put the sandwich in it, and then jovially handed it to their impoverished brother who had been suggested ( told) to wait, on a park bench. " Alyosha emerged from his father's house in a humour that was even more jaded and depressed than it had been earlier, when he had gone in. " " Alyosha related everything that had happened to him right from the moment he had gone into Katerina Ivanovna's housee. He talked for some ten minutes, and though it could not be said that he did so flowingly or well, he managed none the less to give a clear account, catching the principal words and actions and vividly communicating, often by means of a single detail, his own feelings."

j
johnlau_0
Feb 07, 2018

What can I say about this book that hasn't already been said? It was written over 100 years ago, and is still relevant. Unless, of course, you are some teenage edge-lord who is too cool to have a soul. Then I pity you, and you should go back to watching Disney movies about about billionaires in flying armor.

The writing is grand, and the insight into humanity is simply impressive. The internal dialogue of his characters are well written and profound. They shed a light into the human condition that many today are incapable of understanding.

The book is long, yes, but Dostoevsky has a way of working in little vignettes and mini-stories within the main story. Every chapter is like a short story unto itself, and I find myself engrossed in the whole affair. It took me almost 3 months to finish this book, because I found myself reading and re-reading certain passages to reflect on their meaning.

Oh, and there is a story within a story called "The Grand Inquisitor". Mind = blown.

r
rpavlacic
Nov 25, 2017

Dostoyevsky's masterwork is not an easy book to read. The paragraphs go on for pages, quotations go on for pages, and the main reason for the book - a murder - doesn't happen until past page 500; the rest is prologue with extended discussions about religion and philosophy. That being said, it's a book that's hard to put down, although in my case it took about three and a half weeks to go through. One never knows for sure truly whodunit until near the very end. More than a mystery novel, this is a book that belongs on every bookshelf ... though I was a bit confused by the translator's explanation (for the version I read, the Penguin Classics edition) as to why the English version is actually longer than the original Russian.

c
Calvacade
Aug 08, 2017

There are not too many books that transcend time. It is difficult for a story to stay relevant hundreds of years later, not just because of changing times but due to changing life styles, personal interactions and issues that tend to bother people of different eras. Karamazov is a rare exception.
Dostoyevsky's first big triumph is his ability to weave a highly complex intrigue in the simplest of fashion. His characters play mind games that are difficult to further evolve for writers a century later with all the modern day machinations and progress in writing styles based on experiences of generations of authors that have come before. Unlike most other classics of the nineteenth century or before, Karamazov characters are as vile, crafty, intelligent or thoughtful as any created by the best of present time novelists.
The second triumph is in clearly portraying so many characters in their own unique, non-compromising ways. Few of his characters are completely good or bad. Almost no interactions between them are predictable. The story moves as unpredictably as real life, even if one was to be aware of its eventual end through spoilers or copycat reproductions by others in the following 130 years.

j
Janice21383
May 28, 2017

What Russian young men were doing in the 19th century, instead of building railroads and improving agriculture. They were writing poetry, agitating for and against their overwhelming, authoritarian society, spending thousands of rubles on "creatures" and, to a greater extent than most will believe, worrying about their souls. There is a thin excuse for a plot, but endless, magnificent talk. TBK is more like a series of connected plays than a book, specifically the plays of George Bernard Shaw. Needless to say, this is not a book to read as an introduction to Russian literature, or even to Dostoevsky. It would also help to know some Russian history, and to understand how their culture is very different to that of western Europe, despite sharing a continent and a skin colour. But if you're a person who wrestles with great moral questions, or wants to understand the heart of our Russian neighbours, The Brothers Karamazov is the book to read.

a
amariem_0
Feb 24, 2017

The translation I read is the one from "Great Books of the Western World" series, but since this catalog entry is the one that has comments attached to it, I'll just copy my post to this thread:

There were bits and pieces of the book that I found very touching and inspirational but I had trouble grasping the story as a whole. That may be because it took me about six months to read, so by the time I was finished I may have lost connection to things that had happened earlier in the story. If I had read the book at a more even pace, I may have been able to think more critically from what I was reading and figure out how the various themes of the story fit together.

h
haileyj
Jan 23, 2016

As one reader wrote, the book is too heavily padded with words which made for a boring read. I got to about page 400 (out of 1000+) and gave up before the father was murdered because I just didn't care why or which son did it. Dostoevsky's struggle with his faith or lack of, isn't as interesting or relevant any more as it must have been in the late 1800's.

jackseney Jan 03, 2016

Yes, a classic, a work of genius, etc., etc. but also overlong and very heavily padded (Dostoyevsky, like Dickens and other "greats," wrote for serialization and for money, making lengthy exposition, dramatic cliffhangers, overwrought scenes, etc. necessary for business). You know you're in trouble when entire long segments have titles like "The Preliminary Investigation." But those are the drawbacks. The timeless pluses that transcend Dostoyevsky himself are in his exploration of the mind, heart and soul of man as represented by the three brothers. There is also his fine sardonic humor (which I, at least, am convinced I see in everything he wrote). And then there is this novel's glorious conclusion - that rare example of an extreme sentimentality that works. Not so much read as skimmed through by generations worldwide, be sure to look for the best parts of this book while you do.

multcolib_susannel Dec 15, 2015

Three brothers
Two women
One murder.

New Translation.

n
nsystems
Nov 19, 2014

Critics recommend this translation, especially.

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FavouriteFiction Sep 30, 2009

The brothers Alyosha, Dmitry, and Ivan become involved with patricide.

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