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The Brothers Karamazov
> The Brothers Karamazov, my greatest novel
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Apr 05, 2012 07:57PM
I can't post the whole as I go on a bit. Here's the beginning and a link.
With Great Books, comment is an impertinence. But I like to hear of people’s encounters with them, and thought I’d attempt mine with the novel that has always been my number one.
For those new to him I’d like to say, Dostoyevsky isn’t difficult. I think there’s a rumour he is - as with other Greats who turn out to be more like ordinary novelists than we’d feared, except with the wisdom of the gods. The last hundred pages of Karamazov is a courtroom drama, and he has sensational plots, since he got them from the crime pages in the paper and/or from criminals he met while incarcerated. The books tend to hinge on a murder, and a murder is the central event of Karamazov. I think of him as like Shakespeare, with a popular plot for his vehicle. But then that’s just as true of Karamazov’s only rival for my top spot, Moby Dick.
I’ve just read Karamazov after a space of ten years. I lived with the novel in my youth, and from my perspective now, I can see that Dostoyevsky just about built my brain. It’s uncanny to read him again – weirdly familiar, and humbling, since I start to wonder whether I've ever had a thought of my own (I got that from him? – and that?). I know how struck I was, back then, but I couldn’t have foreseen the depth of the theft. He taught me my ethics. I obviously took him for my gospel. A person can do worse.
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