The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov

A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue

Book - 2002
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Winner of the Pen/Book-of-the-Month Club Translation Prize

The Brothers Karamasov is a murder mystery, a courtroom drama, and an exploration of erotic rivalry in a series of triangular love affairs involving the "wicked and sentimental" Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and his three sons--the impulsive and sensual Dmitri; the coldly rational Ivan; and the healthy, red-cheeked young novice Alyosha. Through the gripping events of their story, Dostoevsky portrays the whole of Russian life, is social and spiritual striving, in what was both the golden age and a tragic turningpoint in Russian culture.

This award-winning translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky remains true to the verbal
inventiveness of Dostoevsky's prose, preserving the multiple voices, the humor, and the surprising modernity of the original. It is an achievement worthy of Dostoevsky's last and greatest novel.

Publisher: New York : Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 2002
Edition: 1st Farrar, Straus and Giroux pbk. ed
ISBN: 9780374528379
0374528373
Branch Call Number: F DOS 2002 NVD
Characteristics: xx, 796 p. ; 21 cm

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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.

a
arturo_m
Apr 26, 2014

My first Dosteyevsky novel, this is also my first time reading a Russian classic, so I might not be the best person to get an informed, well-read opinion from, but be that as it may ...
This textured tome has been described as one of the greatest, if not the greatest work of literature of all time. Though certainly impactful on me, it hasn`t impressed me in quite that way.

Not that I wasn't impressed at all. The characters are rich, nuanced and satisfyingly unpredictable. Dosteyevsky is doubtlessly skilled at painting detailed portraits of the human soul, human frailty, the profundities of human depravity, Russian culture, dynamic social change, intense intellectual conflict, the aesthetics of landscape and the awe of eternal deity.

I was moved most of all by the pathetic story thread of Illusha, the slight but brave boy and his family. If there has ever been a more tender portrayal of a father-son relationship written on the page, I am ignorant of its existence.

Much of the parallel story threads read to me like a sort of backstory for an episode of the Jerry Springer show. This is all the more remarkable when compared to other aspects of the novel that explore intense psychological, philosophical and theological themes. This sacred / profane dichotomy is really a part of the novel's lasting appeal and impact.

Perhaps in a few years I will mature, and having re-read "Karamazov", will inevitably uncover deeper artistic and spiritual treasures in this classic work, a la Mortimer J. Adler. My bet is that if I do revisit these pages, this will certainly be the outcome.

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Gokusnake Jul 06, 2012

Gokusnake thinks this title is suitable for 18 years and over

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FavouriteFiction Sep 30, 2009

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

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