Long considered a classic as well as Dostoevsky’s best work, The Brothers Karamazov is a fictional tome of 729 pages. After seeing tons of reviews, I decided to be brave and find out what all the fuss was about.
Many commentaries raved about the profound psychological and theological themes and revelations. Others claimed it was an in-depth analysis of Russia’s ethics, politics and religion. I just wanted to see if I could even read the book! I’m happy to report that I did indeed read and even FINISHED the novel. But it was NOT easy!
In all fairness, I believe it loses a lot in the translation from Russian to English. The idioms and cultural aspects were often confusing and distracting. Therefore, I readily admit that in Russian this book is likely much better……..maybe?
The English translation I read was by Constance Garrett and it was pretty much a chore to read. There were numerous times I put it down never intending to pick it up again! Really. Yet there was SOMETHING compelling and intriguing about the book that kept me going back for more. There were even a few chapters that I liked so much I couldn’t put the book down! (Ok, I admit it, I loved the murder and mayhem parts!)
So what is my humble opinion? It is an epic story of greed, envy and mental illness. The Karamazov family gives new meaning to the word dysfunctional. Their interpersonal relationships are at times bizarre and puzzling and at other times there is some love and tenderness. However, the family dynamics are so intriguing and beguiling that I kept being drawn back into the unfolding saga. I developed a fascination for the characters that compelled me to see how it all turned out. (Spoiler…….it did not turn out well!)
My recommendation? If you have the time and are curious enough to find out why this is a classic, I say, “Go for it!”. If nothing else you will have bragging rights that you were able to tackle this tome. UDACHI!
Note: This novel is in the public domain therefore both the ebook and audiobook are readily available and Free on sites such as Librivox.com
Submitted by Mary Hall