It may be different for other people, but we in our green youth have to settle the eternal questions first.
(Quote from "The Brothers Karamazov" used to head a chapter in this novel.)
I started this book after finishing The Art of Fielding
. Not wanting to leave that world, I thought this book would be a good follow-up; and though this novel is an American (especially of the Pacific Northwest) epic, while the other is an American (specifically Midwestern) sliver of time, I was right. Here was another I didn't want to end, one of those books I start reading more slowly near the end because of that, though the ending was completely satisfying.
The writing is funny, smart and heartfelt. I laughed; I teared up. Some of the passages may seem extraneous at first, but none of it is; it's impressive how well-structured this novel is.
It's been awhile since I read Dostoyevsky's "The Brothers Karamazov" but even I could tell the parallels are intentional of course, though not complete of course, (the K in the title is also because of a baseball scoring symbol, as I expected) but that doesn't take away from the originality of the world Duncan has created, though both novels do seem to contain 'everything.'
I don't think you need to be a baseball fan to enjoy this book. I'm not a fan of fishing, but those few references also seem intrinsic. The main pleasure is in the dynamics and intricacies of a family of two parents with vastly different ideas (mostly about religion) and their six children: four boys and two sisters (which almost sounds as if I'm describing my family though except for the way the brothers are described in the beginning, I felt no real comparisons) coming of age during the time of the Vietnam War, and the different paths each young man takes due to the war, and the effects each path has on the rest of the family, as a family.
This is definitely a book I could reread: it contains so much. And don't feel you need to read The Brothers Karamazov
first; you don't.