The Brothers Karamazov is Fyodor Dostoyevsky's final, and perhaps most masterful novel. It is a deeply passionate and philosophical novel that delves into the difficult terrain of free will, morality, faith, doubt, and reason, with an ever-modernizing Russia as its setting.
The narrative itself contains different perspectives which are embodied in its main characters: the four brothers Karamazov who are the spoiled materialist Dimitri, the tortured intellectual Ivan, the (illegitimate), cruel and meddling Smerdyakov, and the kindly, spiritual Alyosha, who is the Dostoevsky's hero. Each brother represents a different dimension of the Russian spirit, and in some ways a microcosm of the whole of mankind. Some consider this as much a work of philosophy as a novel, but it is also a murder mystery, a courtroom thriller, an examination of corruption, religious institutions, and a satire of human corruption.
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very philosophically complex this one..
And...er...I am still not quite sure who committed the major crime of the novel to be honest..and I finished it today. I learned so much about Russia in this time period through Dostoevsky. Maybe I should make this five stars instead. I'll have to think about it.more
Not bad, just so very very long. I'm not sure I really understood the necessity for the very long diversions into the meaning of the church and philosophy and so on. I suspect a good editor would have it down to ~ 250 pages, not the 770 I've just ploughed through.
The characters seemed to be in the pantomime mould - not very real - they were all extremes, and not very believable. I wonder if the three brothers were intended as examples of the intellectual (Ivan), the moral man (Alexei) and the pleasure seeker (Dmitri), aspects of character rather than being real characters themselves. In which case this is a morality play of sorts. The pleasure seeker is tried for a crime of passion that he, in fact, did not commit, while the intellectual suffers a nervous breakdown of some regard and end conversing with the devil - having denied the existence of God. (Note, denying God also tends to lead to denying the devil too, just a thought Ivan). Alexei is the only one that comes out with any credit, indicating that is the only true path in life. Can't quite see where the illegitimate son (assuming here) Smerdyakov fits into the morality play, unless it's that the guilty will not prosper.
Just far too long winded for me to really enjoy. I doubt this will be a book I'll come back to.more
All the same a fine novel that deserves the hype it deserves and the whopping 1.5GB on my HDD and 36 hours of 'reading'.more
I started reading this and took my time -- but then had to read stuff for school! So, i only got half way and it's been 2 years. I'll have to start over, but I won't mind at all.more