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The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Brothers Karamazov (1880)

by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Other authors: See the other authors section.

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
21,87424397 (4.38)4 / 960
  1. 202
    The Idiot by Fyodor Dostoevsky (PrincessPaulina, melies)
    PrincessPaulina: "The Idiot" is overlooked compared to Dostoevsky's other work, but in my opinion it's the most engaging. Deals with upper crust society in pre-revolutionary Russia
  2. 20
    The Master of Petersburg by J. M. Coetzee (xtien)
    xtien: Brilliand novel by Coetzee about a fictional Dostoevsky
  3. 34
    Thus Spoke Zarathustra by Friedrich Nietzsche (igor.chubin)
Romans (21)

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English (218)  Italian (5)  Dutch (4)  French (4)  Spanish (3)  German (3)  Danish (1)  Swedish (1)  Hebrew (1)  Portuguese (1)  Russian (1)  All languages (242)
Showing 1-5 of 218 (next | show all)
The Brothers Karamazov is Dostoyevsky's master piece. It is dense, philosophical, thrilling, wordy, and a thorough examination of human nature. Dostoyevsky's chief interest lies, as always, in exploring what drives people - their passions, loves, crimes, faith, greed, jealousy, zeal, and the whole gamut of human experiences. His tale is a complex family drama, a crime story, a passionate love story, a philosophical treatise on the necessity of God, and a treatise on psychology.

He wastes no words on describing time and place, but lavishes them on people. We are always following people meeting, talking, running about in fits of passion, expanding on complex ideas. Dostoyevsky has a gift of conveying character via dialogue - everyone has a different style of speech, varying even by context. The dialogue almost jumps off the page with authenticity - even though my translation was kind of awkward, I could see the incoherent speech patterns of someone who was drunk or was in a frenzy, the switching of context when one was distracted.

In addition of dialogue, many characters have a tendency to give speeches and rants. I confess I had a hard time reading the first part of the book, especially the long treatises about the existence of God and the power play of the church in using religion to keep them in servitude. I find those subjects fascinating, but the rants were repetitive and went on way too long. I also had a hard time getting through everyone's background - there are a myriad characters - and the thorough descriptions of their meetings and their conversations, and every little detail of their faces, gestures, changes of mood.

However, in the second half, all of these details became important. Almost everything we have seen from one point of view, is thrown into a different light by re-examining it from another.

The second half of the books is taken up by the crime and trial of Dmitri, the oldest Karamazov brother. He insists he did not kill his father - but he spent the past month making everyone believe that he would kill his father, and the evening of the crime mounting evidence against himself. Much of the brilliance of the book comes during the trial - where all facts are examined from different points of view. Dostoyevsky is most interested in the psychology of the murder and the behavior or the accused and the witnesses - and gives a thorough and creditable account of Dmitri's mind at the time from both the prosecution and the defense's point of view. What makes it so brilliant is that both are completely credible - but neither are the complete truth. He gives us the truth, too - and yet we know that no one believes the real truth, and it is impossible to believe it, too, because the only witness is dead, and all evidence points to Dmitri's guilt.

This is an incredible novel. It is hard work - but completely worth it at the end. ( )
  Gezemice | Oct 29, 2018 |
I was a little disappointed with this book. I felt like it took awhile for anything to really happen and it went off on tangents, focusing on new characters that didn't really having anything to do with the story. It was frustrating and the end wasn't very satisfying. ( )
  Katie80 | Oct 8, 2018 |
After seeing the stellar reviews for this book, I definitely feel like I missed many of the lessons and themes of this weighty novel. Like many other critics of this book, I found it hard to like any of the characters. The 'good' characters - Alexei, Father Zosima, etc. - were just too perfect for me, almost in a saccharine way. I liked some of the flawed characters - Dimitri, Ivan, Grushenka - but the long lessons about faith and God almost made me stop reading this book. And in hindsight, I should have put the book down and picked it up again when I was in a more receptive mood. Right now, I'm too preoccupied by this horrible Trump administration -- the lack of integrity, and the destruction of environmental protections, race relations ... I could go on forever, but I'm off track about this classic. The takeaway for me is to not rush and 'check off' a book just to have it appear in my finished pile, especially when there are so many lessons to be learned. Will I ever pick this up and read it again, unlikely, but possible. ( )
  jmoncton | Aug 29, 2018 |
The titular brothers are four: Dmitri, Ivan, Alexei, and Smerdyakov. The elder three bear the name of Karamazov; the younger one, an illegitimate son, is their valet. One day the patriarch, Fyodor, is murdered, and Dmitri is charged with his murder. Is he guilty, or is he innocent?

I found this an exhausting book. The Karamazovs veer from one emotional extreme to another, alternating from wild raving happiness to howling fits of despair. Alexei (Alyosha) is the most even-keeled of the lot, possibly thanks to the time he spent living in the monastery run by Father Zossima. The other two Karamazovs spend a lot of time reacting to things, and Dmitri in particular keeps digging his own grave. But the women they love are not much better; both Grushenka and Katerina Ivanovna spend a great deal of (possibly unjustified) time and effort in restoring their loved ones’ spirits.

That said, there were some amusing moments and some observations that are still relevant today. So I don’t regret reading this book. I just probably won’t re-read it. ( )
  rabbitprincess | May 31, 2018 |
I found it tougher to get through than his other works. But the scene where Jesus comes back to visit the church officials was amazing. ( )
  margaretfield | May 29, 2018 |
Showing 1-5 of 218 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (101 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Dostoevsky, Fyodorprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Anhava, MarttiTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Bazzarelli, EridanoForewordsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Brockway, HarryIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Davidson, FrederickNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eichenberg, FritzIllustratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Eng, Jan van derTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Fondse, MarkoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Garnett, ConstanceTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Geier, SwetlanaÜbersetzersecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Kosloff, A.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Langeveld, ArthurTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
MacAndrew, Andrew H.Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Magarshack, DavidTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Maugham, W. SomersetEditorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
McDuff, DavidIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mochulsky, KonstantinIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Mongault, HenriTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Nötzel, KarlTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pevear, RichardTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polledro, AlfredoTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Prina, SerenaEditor and Translatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Pyykkö, LeaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Sales, JoanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Vance, SimonNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Volokhonsky, LarissaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Yarmolinsky, AvrahmIntroductionsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Verily, verily, I say unto, you, except a corn of wheat fall into the ground and die, it abideth alone: but if it die, it bringth forth much fruit.
— John 12:24
Tillägnas Anna Grigorjevna Dostojevskaja
Dedicated to

Anna Grigorievna Dostoevsky
First words
Alexey Fyodorovich Karamazov was the third son of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, a landowner well known in our district in his own day, and still remembered among us owing to his tragic and obscure death, which happened just thirteen years ago, and of which I shall speak in its proper place. (Garnett, 1912)
Aleksei Fyodorovich Karamazov was the third son of Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, a landowner of our district, extremely well known in his time (and to this day still remembered in these parts) on account of his violent and mysterious death exactly thirteen years ago, the circumstances of which I shall relate in due course. (Avsey 1994)
Alexey Fyodorovitch Karamazov was the third son of Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov, a landowner well known in our district in his own day, and still remembered among us owing to his gloomy and tragic death, which happened thirteen years ago, and which I shall describe in its proper place. (Garnett, Great Books, 1952)
Alexei Fyodorovich Karamazov was the third son of a landowner from our district, Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, well known in his own day (and still remembered among us) because of his dark and tragic death, which happened exactly thirteen years ago and which I shall speak of in its proper place. (Pevear/Volokhonsky, 1990)
Very well then - tell me the truth, squash me like a cockroach.
In schools children are a tribe without mercy.
(McDuff, 1993)
I have, as it were, torn my soul in half before you, and you have taken advantage of it and are rummaging with your fingers in both halves along the torn place...O God!
(McDuff, 1993)
I'm a Karamazov - when I fall into the abyss, I go straight into it, head down and heels up . . . 
Last words
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Disambiguation notice
Individual volumes should not be combined with the complete set/work or different volumes of the same set/work.
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Wikipedia in English (1)

Book description
Tre fratelli con caratteri molto diversi: uno orgoglioso e sensuale, uno razionale fino all'eccesso e uno sinceramente religioso; un figlio illegittimo malato ed emarginato ed un padre avaro e crudele, odiato e disprezzato da tutti.
Haiku summary
Sad Russian people
griping about God and stuff.
Wish Dad was still here.

Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0374528373, Paperback)

The award-winning translation of Dostoevsky's last and greatest novel.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:17:31 -0400)

(see all 11 descriptions)

The violent lives of three sons are exposed when their father is murdered and each one attempts to come to terms with his guilt.

» see all 35 descriptions

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Penguin Australia

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