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The Brothers Karamazov

4.28 of 5 stars 4.28  ·  rating details  ·  122,009 ratings  ·  5,286 reviews
The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoevsky's crowning achievement, is a tale of patricide and family rivalry that embodies the moral and spiritual dissolution of an entire society (Russia in the 1870s). It created a national furor comparable only to the excitement stirred by the publication, in 1866, of Crime and Punishment. To Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov captured the quint ...more
Hardcover, 880 pages
Published January 23rd 1996 by Modern Library (first published February 1st 1879)
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Karen Tsakos There are points where Dostoyevsky inserts non-narrative material, such as the "poem" "The Grand Inquisitor" and the Author/narrator's summation of…moreThere are points where Dostoyevsky inserts non-narrative material, such as the "poem" "The Grand Inquisitor" and the Author/narrator's summation of Dimitri's trial, toward the end. These, unless recognized for what they are, can make a reader feel like he's spinning his wheels, as no narrative action is taking place. Recognizing this may help you slog on---it's worth it!(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Conrad
Contrary to widespread rumor, this is a far from bleak book. While every character has his or her own misery, and it all takes place in a place called something like "cattle-roundup-ville", the moments of religious ecstasy and moral clarity are heartbreaking in their frequency - it's hard not to wish that one had such bizarre events going on around one in order to prompt such lofty oratory.

The story involves Ivan, Dmitri, Alyosha, and Smerdyakov, four brothers with a rich but notoriously lechero
...more
Rawley
If there was still any doubt, let me confirm that this actually is the greatest book ever written. But be warned that you need to set aside a solid month to get through it. And it's not light reading--this is a dense work of philosophy disguised as a simple murder mystery. But it's well worth the effort. It tackles the fundamental question of human existence--how best to live one's life--in a truly engaging way. Dostoevsky created 3 brothers (Ivan, Alexei, and Dmitri) with opposite answers to th ...more
Jeffrey Keeten
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If you like your books to move in a linear fashion this book is not for you. It hops around and attention must be paid or you will find yourself flipping back a few pages to reestablish the thread of the story. I took this on a plane flight, crazy right? Not exactly the normal "light" reading I take on flights. It was a stroke of genius. I absolutely fell under the thrall of Dostoyevky's prose. (Thank you to my fellow travelers who didn't feel the need to chat with the guy who obviously is so f
...more
Riku Sayuj
Feb 16, 2014 Riku Sayuj rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Riku by: english teacher in seventh grade!

On Romancing The Devil

Warning: This review might contain spoilers even outside the hidden 'spoiler alert' regions. I honestly am not capable of discriminating.


The book is not about the murder or about who did it, those things were very apparent before half the book was completed - the narrator taking special pains to spoil all suspense for his readers at the very beginning (harkening back to the days of greek drama and Euripides - according to whom, the effect of a story, even awhodunnit, was n
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sckenda
A God-intoxicated writer anguishes over faith and the duality of humanity. Dostoevsky gives us a novel of ideas built around a murder mystery. Behold, I show you a mystery. “Much upon the earth is concealed from us, but in recompense for that we have been gifted with a mysterious, sacred sense of our living connection with another world, with a celestial and higher world.” (415)

Dostoevsky borrows his theme, stated in his epigraph, from the Gospel of John: “The truth is, a kernel of wheat must b
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Ben
Someone: Helloooo… yoo-hoo…. Fucktard, you there?

Ben: Yes, I'm here... I finished The Brothers Karamazov the other night and I'm a bit blown away. Emotionally exhausted. Right now, it has me sitting here thinking about it, feeling all kinds of things, thinking complex, important thoughts....

Someone: The great Fyodor Dostoevsky should do that to you. He's a literary Giant; one of the all time greats. But you see, knowing you, shitfuck, I'm not surprised you gave it five stars. You give everything
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Ellen
description

“I am big; it’s the pictures that got small”

In Considering the Lobster, David Foster Wallace observes that the “thing about Dostoevsky’s characters is that they are alive" (264). They are, in fact, larger than life, and Wallace goes on to bemoan the fact that so many “of the novelists of our own place and time look so thematically shallow and lightweight…in comparison to Gogol or Dostoevsky” (271). Like Norma Desmond, who feels the pictures have gotten small, Wallace sees contemporary novels lac
...more
Cheryl
Elegant storytelling about archetype characters in a Russian village with the theme of faith in God as the answer to mankind's cynicism, free will, treatment of others, redemption from personal and family moral decay and hope for eternity.

HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!
Rachel
Nov 09, 2007 Rachel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: everyone!
Shelves: fiction
This is a review both of the book and the translation. See my review of Crime and Punishment for an explanation of why I don't entirely like this translation -- the authors sacrifice clarity and readability for technical accuracy in a way that tends to obscure the meaning. That said, though, it's a very good one, and I'd give it a four out of five. My pet peeve in most translations is the choice of the word "meek" instead of "gentle". These have utterly different connotations in modern English, ...more
Dolors
Feb 15, 2014 Dolors rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those in need of spiritual cleansing
Dark abysses in moonless skies will engulf the titillating brightness of stars and ghastly winters will obliterate the warmth of the earth until justice has been done.
Recline comfortably in your velvety chaise longue and concentrate on the spectacle that is about to begin, for the so much awaited day of the trial has arrived and the Karamazov family will be submitted to relentless interrogation, psychological scrutiny and the righteous proof of circumstantial evidence. There is humor, melodrama
...more
Fatin
Um, okay, so I'm going to start off by saying, if you are, like me, in love with the brothers, love them from afar. Because as wonderful as they seem, being in a relationship with them would be awful, and you would cry a lot. Yes, even Alyosha, unless you are of course as noble and as kind as him yourself, which I just don’t see happening. On the other hand, if you just want to have some fun with them, by all means, I think it would be…awesome.

I found this cute picture on deviantArt that summari
...more
Brian
2014 has started out as a real crapper on the reading front. I'd like to believe it's because of work distractions, family drama, competing entertainment - but we all have those things and find plenty of time to read. So the honest answer is that for weeks I couldn't come to grips with just how little I was enjoying this novel. And that frustration lead me away from all other reading material. The tight downward spiral of self imposed illiteracy.

I haven't completed all of FD's works, but everyth
...more
Jesse
Basically, the Brothers Karamazov is one of my all-time favorite books, in large part because I read it with one of my all-time favorite philosophy professors. Although the book has a fairly compelling plot, to me it's ultimately the characters and thematic concerns underpinning the story that keep it near the top of my list, and that's where I'd like to put the focus of this review (in hopes of sharing some of the stuff my teacher pointed out that I never would have come up with on my own). Of ...more
Cheryl
Ask me what book has now transformed my thought about what literature can do and I will name this book. Ask me about a book whose characters I will reference for years—not because they were so relatable or lovable but because they were replacements of philosophical thought—and I will name Alyosha, Ivan, and Mitya. Ask me about an author whose works I won’t mind reading and rereading, and I will name Fyodor Dostoevsky.

To think, before reading this, I didn’t even know how to properly pronounce the
...more
Jason Koivu
Oh brother Karamazov, where art thou?

The split up of the family Karamazov affected me more than all the philosophizing and high-minded ethical discussion. But that's me. I'm more interested in seeing human nature played out rather than hearing a bunch of people sit around talking about how humans should act. Not since college, when I took so many philosophy classes I could've majored in it, has such debate held my attention. These days few writers can make me read through hundreds of pages of t
...more
MJ Nicholls
Note: This review was written on Nov 18th 2007, a week after my twenty-first birthday. Excuse the youthful clumsiness of my style.

Matters of Life and Death

Often I used stop people in the streets, shake them frantically on the shoulders and slap them on the face, shouting again and again: “Is there a God? Is there a God? For God’s sake, just tell me if there’s a God!”

You would be surprised at the results I gathered from this. One or two of them confirmed that there is indeed a God, and that his n
...more
Florencia
Above all, avoid lies, all lies, especially the lie to yourself. Keep watch on your own lie and examine it every hour, every minute. And avoid contempt, both of others and of yourself: what seems bad to you in yourself is purified by the very fact that you have noticed it in yourself. And avoid fear, though fear is simply the consequence of every lie. (57)

Family. You can't pick. You are either happy to be around them or you are stuck with them. You can choose your friends, a pet, you can choose
...more
Gillian
Mar 12, 2009 Gillian marked it as to-read  ·  review of another edition
i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. i will finish this book. ...more
Szplug
Dostoevsky's crowning achievement, although not my personal favourite amongst his impressive body of work. TBK has pretty much everything required of a five-star paper city: superb characterization, psychological depth and insight; intrigue, murder, and suspense; great daubs of humor, both madcap broadsides and satirical with a capital slice; that never-ending, cyclonical struggle between faith and reason; a sublimely Slavic melange of love, lust, deception, betrayal, violence, flight, revenge, ...more
Rakhi Dalal
A masterpiece indeed! And I doubt if anything written by me would do justice in terms of glorifying the author’s work. But there are some emotions I can’t suppress. So, I am calling upon them to fall congruously in line, so that I can make out a sense of what the reading of it rendered me to grasp.

A few questions that came outright were, “Doesn’t ‘The Brothers Karamazov’, separated in their thoughts and ideas but united in their grief, represent all of us?” Isn’t it like someone has put a mirro
...more
Skylar Burris
This novel would lead me to believe that all Russian women are virtual psychopaths and all Russian men muddled philosophers. But for all of its curious characterizations, The Brothers Karamazov is a masterfully written epic, and once I had plodded past the first 40 pages or so, I was enthralled. Fascinated by the brothers, anxious to know their destinies, and stimulated by the depth of the novel's religious speculations, I read on. As a story, Brothers Karamazov is good enough, but as a penetrat ...more
Bushra
ترددت قبل الشروع في قراءة الاخوة كارامازوف وكأن كون هذه الرواية آخر ما كتب سيفوت علي الاستمتاع ببقية أعماله وشعرت أنني مقبلة على قراءة رواية ضمَّنَها كاتبها تجاربه وعصارة حياته وربما حتى تشبه قراءة وصيته.. لكن رغم ثقلها ما ان بدأت حتى زالت كل الحواجز.. عادةً في الروايات الثقيلة بعد خمسين صفحة على الأقل نبدأ بالاستيعاب أما هنا تندمج بسهولة وكأن دوستوفيسكي يقول لمن يدخل عالمه: أهلاً بك اعتبر نفسك في بيتك اجلس على هذا الكرسي واسكب لك كأساً من الكونياك.. :D
عندما تكون الأحداث بطيئة والصفحات كثيرة ورغ
...more
Jan-Maat
Once a upon a time there were three brothers (view spoiler), Dmitri, Ivan and Alexei, who went forth into the world each bearing a legacy from their parents. Along their way they each use the gifts they have to deal with the problems that lie in their path. But first Dmitri, the eldest brother who is strong and powerful, falls by the wayside and then Ivan, the middle brother who is clever and educated falls by the wayside, but Alexei, l ...more
Alex
Brothers Karamazov is an exceptionally tricky and intricate book. It's also an exceptional pain in the ass. I might have to create a new shelf for it called "I'd Have To Read It Again To Get It But I'd Rather Just Not Get It." Tristram Shandy can join it there. The first problem is when a speech is so long that it reminds you of Atlas Shrugged. The second problem is that when I finished it just now, the words that unconsciously escaped my mouth were, "Well, fuck you Karamazov."

Here's a game I ma
...more
Bonnie
I remember that after reading this, Dostoevsky’s final book, and the last book I read by him, that it became my all-time favourite. If I gave 5 stars to Crime and Punishment, then I would have given 6 to The Brothers Karamazov. I must have focused on plot the first time I read it, but knew, even at the time, that there was so much more to it that I had to read it again. I did. But all I remember is that if Crime and Punishment made me think, The Brothers Karamazov made me really think.

I can say
...more
Pietrus Block
Aug 29, 2007 Pietrus Block rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Everyone
"Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love."

"This is my last message to you: in sorrow seek happiness. Work, work unceasingly."

"He has done me no harm. But I played him a dirty trick, and ever since then I have hated him."

"It's the great mystery of human life that old grief pass
...more
Vanja Antonijevic
Dec 21, 2007 Vanja Antonijevic rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: patient individuals, looking for a rewarding experience
Dostoevsky’s "Crime and Punishment" and "Notes from Underground" are his most popular and famous works. And deservedly so. Dostoevsky’s "Brothers Karamazov", on the other hand, is his most critically acclaimed work- regarded by many as the best novel ever written. And deservedly so.

While "Crime and Punishment" and "Notes from Underground" are shorter, easier to read, and more entertaining, Brothers Karamazov is Dostoevsky’s longest, but also best, most subtle, and complex work. It has a huge li
...more
Ken Moten
[Update 7/08/2013: I guess this review deserves a preface. Before you read it keep in mind that this book nearly made me stop reading novels because I felt that after this nothing will ever reach up to its level. Now I know there are longer novels and maybe better manageable novels, and this book isn't my all-time favorite ([book:Invisible Man|16981]) but this book is just special. After about two months I started picking up comic books and graphic novels to get me back in the habit of reading a ...more
Chiara Pagliochini
‘Vedete, noi siamo nature ampie, karamazoviane, capaci di mescolare insieme i più opposti contrari che immaginar si possa, e di ficcar lo sguardo, nello stesso istante, in entrambi gli abissi, nell’abisso al di sopra di noi, l’abisso degli ideali più alti, e nell’abisso al di sotto di noi, l’abisso della più bassa, della più fetida caduta morale. […] I due abissi, i due abissi, o signori, nello stesso identico momento: senza questo, noi siamo infelici e insoddisfatti, la nostra esistenza non è p ...more
Zanna
May 23, 2014 Zanna rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Zanna by: Samadrita
Shelves: russia
I identify with the things people say about the Russian classics - there is a magical quality about them to me, as though they were written under divine inspiration. It's like watching gymnastics - it defies my sense of human limits. In The Brothers Karamazov, for me, this genius is located in what the characters say, and how they feel and live in relation to... religion!

I exclaim, because, I have always found Christianity extremely boring. At times repulsive, at times disturbing, at times eleva
...more
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  • The Queen of Spades and Other Stories
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  • Life and Fate
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  • Basic Writings of Nietzsche
  • Resurrection
  • Diary of a Madman and Other Stories
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  • The Life and Opinions of Tristram Shandy, Gentleman
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  • The Magic Mountain
  • The Enchanted Wanderer: Selected Tales
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Fyodor Mikhaylovich Dostoyevsky (Russian: Фёдор Михайлович Достоевский), sometimes transliterated Dostoevsky, was a Russian novelist, journalist, and short-story writer whose psychological penetration into the human soul had a profound influence on the 20th century novel.

Dostoevsky was the second son of a former army doctor. He was educated at home and at a private school. Shortly after the death
...more
More about Fyodor Dostoyevsky...
Crime and Punishment The Idiot Notes from Underground Demons The Gambler

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“Above all, don't lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” 4816 likes
“What is hell? I maintain that it is the suffering of being unable to love.” 2791 likes
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