Jamie's Reviews > The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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Nov 07, 08

bookshelves: the-essentials
Read on September 01, 2008

So, so worth it. Hands down one of the best books of my life.

Additional thoughts, after absorbing it a few days: It's a shockingly joyful book. The themes are dark, some of the darkest, yet it's one of the most passionately joyful books I've ever read. In spite of— or because of— the tragedy within, there's an unexpected exuberance that fairly spills over unchecked. It grips you by the gut and doesn't quite ever let go. There's a fearless complexity, too; as with the Karamazovs, every one; we are all good and we are all evil, we are all guilty and we are all free. At the end of it you come out with Alyosha; with hope, rather than despair, sobered, yet intrinsically flushed with life and the love of it. I promise, it's everything you've heard about this book, and then only more.

"But I'm not lying, it's all true; unfortunately, the truth is hardly ever witty." (Part IV, Book XI, Chap. IX)


"Because I'll tell everything to you alone, because it's necessary, because you're necessary, because tomorrow I'll fall from the clouds, because tomorrow life will end and begin. Have you ever felt, have you ever dreamed that you were falling off a mountain into a deep pit? Well, I'm falling now, and not in a dream. And I'm not afraid, and don't you be afraid either. That is, I am afraid, but I'm delighted! That is, not delighted, but ecstatic... Oh, to hell with it, it's all the same, whatever it is." (Part I, Book III, Chap. III)
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Reading Progress

10/02/2008 page 432
54.27% "As Amber said... "the whole of life is in this book... and I'm only halfway through!""
10/21/2008 page 580
72.86% "This is a total conspiracy. Right at the most excruciating, page-turning part, 50 pages are missing from my book!! New copy, please hurry!"
10/27/2008 page 640
80.4% "Damn, Smerdyakov."

Comments (showing 1-5 of 5) (5 new)

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message 1: by Asif (new) - added it

Asif I want to read this book, I really do, but when Nabokov describes it as "simply unreadable" I am not so sure anymore.

I guess I really should read it for myself instead of kowtowing to the Master's opinion...


Jamie There’s a lot of ways I’d describe the Brothers K, and unreadable wouldn’t be one. I know the essay you’re citing, though, and Nabokov has a few great points while missing widely on others. In my humble opinion.

So yeah, I’d say give it a shot on its own terms, and see what you think.


message 3: by Asif (new) - added it

Asif You are right, of course. I shall do as soon as I get round to it.


Gerhard Its one of my favourites as well. I cant recommend this book enough. You HAVE to read it.


message 5: by Theodor (new)

Theodor "It's a shockingly joyful book" - this perfectly describes my impression of this book (my favourite). I can't help thinking people who describe this book as merely dark and depressing have misunderstood it completely. I've noticed they tend to be people without any kind of belief/faith. This probably makes sense since without that, the way Dostoyevsky would have it, there is no hope. Only the despair and madness of Ivan. I've rarely felt more full or joy and hope than when I finished the last pages of this book and laid it down. Thanks for the review!


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