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The Karamazov Brothers (Oxford World's Classics) Paperback – 18 Jun 1998
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"A fine translation."--Sr. Anna M. Conklin, Spalding University "A fine translation."--Sr. Anna M. Conklin, Spalding University "A fine translation."--Sr. Anna M. Conklin, Spalding University "A fine translation."--Sr. Anna M. Conklin, Spalding University
Dostoevsky's last and greatest novel, The Karamazov Brothers (1880) is both a brilliantly told crime story and a passionate philosophical debate. The dissolute landowner Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov is murdered; his sons - the atheist intellectual Ivan, the hot-blooded Dmitry, and the saintly novice Alyosha - are all at some level involved. Bound up with this intense family drama is Dostoevsky's exploration of many deeply felt ideas about the existence of God, the question of human freedom, the collective nature of guilt, the disatrous consequences of rationalism. The novel is also richly comic: the Russian Orthodox Church, the legal system, and even the authors most cherisehd causes and beliefs are presented with a note of irreverence, so that orthodoxy, and radicalism, sanity and madness, love and hatred, right and wrong are no longer mutually exclusive. Rebecca West considered it "the allegory for the world's maturity", but with children to the fore. This new translation does full justice to Doestoevsky's genius, particularly in the use of the spoken word, which ranges over every mode of human expression.See all Product description
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This book came about due to things that Dostoevsky had started to write but had never finished, and thus he incorporated some of those elements into this, and whilst writing this his son tragically died and thus the character, indeed the hero of the book, Alyosha is named after him. The narrator of this tale who is never named also arguably becomes a character as we hear his thoughts and evaluations on certain matters throughout.
With philosophical and religious thoughts and ideas overshadowing this tale this does become quite deep and thought provoking. In the way this is set out we sort of have two interrelated tales, with one half being an introduction to the characters, and the second half being a tale of murder and theft. It is this structure that does put some people off from completing this, but it does work, and very well. By the second part we have become very familiar with the characters, and how they behave and their individual foibles.
With a father having three sons, one by one marriage, the other two by a second marriage, we also are led to believe that he possibly has another, illegitimate son who he doesn’t recognise as such but employs in his home. As the father is murdered and money disappears, so one son becomes the prime suspect, but is he the murderer? We follow onto the trial here before this novel reaches its conclusion.
With numerous literary references and in a couple of cases stories within the main tale this is something that does become quite complex. There is also not really that much description here, this mainly becomes a character driven tale with their actions and voices at the forefront. As an allegory as such of society moving towards a more modern material one this works well, and we can also perceive Dostoevsky’s dreams of a more just and thoughtful society where hopefully things will be better. What does come over really well here are the events leading to murder, and we are made to think of other people’s actions that made it possible for the actual murder to take place. As such this is always well worth reading, and is very rewarding.
This was my first Dostoyevsky book, from the day I opened the first page of the dauntingly long book, I was hooked until the day I closed the last, desperately wishing that the book was twice, if not three times the length - such had the characters, their lives, their emotions, their stories captivated me.
It is my personal conviction that if one has not read at least some of this book, then one has not truly read. I simply cannot express how beautiful the fantastically weaving complexity of it is.
The one thing I thought was a tad shame however was the length of the trial scenario towards the end. If this was a little shorter I think it would be a perfect piece of literary writing. A tarnished perfection will have to do I suppose.
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