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4.3 out of 5 stars
4.3 out of 5 stars
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on 1 February 2013
The Brothers Karamazov is my all-time favourite book; its exploreation of complex questions concearning philosophy, psychology, theology and ideology, expressed through a remarkable storyline with incredibly vivid characters made it the most captivating and interesting book I'm yet to come accross. It's almost 1000 pages but when reading it, it seems like a lot less and it actually took me longer to finish Crime and Punishment. I could not put it down and would recomend this book to anybody!
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on 3 January 2015
As great a classic the third time you read it as the first.
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on 20 October 2011
Many, especially from the reviews on this website, point to "The Brothers Karamazov" as a novel which is huge in range to the extent that one reader described it as "unfocused". Indeed it is a long novel, even by the standard of Russian novels. But what appeals about "The Brothers Karamazov" is not its scale (that, indeed, is the mark of a novel such as War and Peace), for the novel only has two major plot lines and has few characters, but the way in which the characters are depicted.
The Brothers Karamazov are all different people for Dostoyevsky. Mitya is a character in the line of a French romantic, in the line of Flaubert's Frederic Moreau, Ivan, the intellectual atheist, and Alyosha, the reconciler, who tries to heal the rifts in the family, but without success. And yet, for all their differences, what is more striking is their similarities and the contradictions. Ivan is rational and yet he has visions of the Devil and is convinced of his culpability in his father's murder. Mitya, though wild, managed to restrain himself from murdering his father. Alyosha, for all his devotion, doubts God on the grounds of the ignoble decline of the Elder Zosima's body. The contradictions within all these people link them as human beings.
Within the novel, despite the evils practised by Smerdyakov, and Mitya's conviction, there is, as is ingrained within Russian novels, the idea of redemption - this is no less true for "The Brothers Karamazov". Despite the darkness of death which permeates the end of the novel, the brothers are united in love for Ivan in his illness, and Alyosha and the children in their love for Ilyosha. So, although the Brothers Karamazov is undoubtedly a novel about the capacity for human beings, such as Smerdyakov, to be diabolic, even more important to the novel is the ability shown by Dostoyevsky for them to do acts of good.
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If poets are, as Mallarme said, the antennae of the race, then Dostoevsky is the poet of the perverse and the degraded. This is a truly amazing book if a long and sometimes demanding one. He raises, definitively, the Problem of Evil in the justly famous "Grand Inquisitor" chapter which is probably the most profound meditation on this topic in any novel. And the characters; Father Zosima the saintly is oddly plausible, so is the old rogue of a father; and the brothers. (Brilliantly he shows Karamazov senior, hating someone because he, Karamazov, had done him ill What an insight!). Well what a crew they all are, out there in the great Russian vastness. Dostoevsky is the master of abnormal psychology - Freud thought he knew himself better than anyone - and as a Russian Orthodox church member, if an unusual one. He is also onto the catastrophe coming to Russia, it would seem, in the famous image at the end. It may not be for you; it may be but you need to give it time. But actually it is no more forbidding that his name is and that is actually not so very hard to say. If you can read Dickens then you can manage the great Russian. Worth anyone's time. Steiner once wrote the all readers face a choice: 'Tolstoy or Dostoevsky?". For me it is Dostoevsky, every time.
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on 30 May 2014
Not many of the extensive novellas I've read are that intriguing. Conflict and desperation, qualms over faith, conscious and desires many aspects of human feelings are getting endured. This is a dramatic and deep reading and surely not light fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed it, just a shame that I can't read it in Russian.
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on 12 December 2012
Dostoyevsky is a great writer in my humble estimation - he introduces many characters which are hard to keep track of at first but don't be deterred - it is a truly interesting - varied read that I would highly recommend.
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on 1 April 2014
I wish for more...complicated people and relationships of a very broken family,this is a wonderful story.take time to enjoy reading it.
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on 26 January 2014
I chose this rating because I am enjoying the novel so much. I have been wanting to read it for years and now and so glad that I have and I really like the religious and philosophical discussions in it.
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on 21 November 2013
I really liked the characters and the insight it gives of what it was like to live in Russia in that era (about the 1870s). The story is long and complicated and there are sections on religion and spirituality which a modern author would make much shorter. This is the second Dostoevsky I have read and I am beginning to think about learning a bit of Russian.
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on 17 January 2016
Something to enjoy here for everyone, I think. Great novel with lots of philosophical elements.
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