Skylar Burris's Reviews > The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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's review
Dec 23, 2007

it was amazing
bookshelves: classics
Read in January, 2001

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 penetrating catalogue of religious, political, psychological, and ethical thought, it is even better. Dostoevsky wrestles with the great questions of Christianity: the problem of evil, the burden of free will, the power of temptation, and the frailty of faith. He depicts the growing deadly influence of socialist indoctrination and considers man's inhumanity to man, his vanity, and his enduring hope. A deeply religious work, Brothers Karamazov will make the complacent believer think with greater seriousness about the questions of theodicy, collective guilt, and grace. All of this heavy thought is dispensed in beautiful language against the backdrop of an intriguing murder mystery and tension-wrought trial.

My only disappointment was that the book did not go far enough, that certain groundwork the author laid early in the novel was not fully developed later. A complaint of brevity may sound absurd given that the novel is well over 700 pages, but I wished to read more of the fates of the brothers. Is Ivan fully redeemed? Does Dimitri cling to his new-found self-discovery, or does he fall back again into spiritual sloth? How is the future Father Zossima prophesied for Alyosha finally fulfilled? Despite its incompleteness, the reader will still experience the overwhelming power of Dostoevsky's brilliant work.
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Quotes Skylar Liked

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“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.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“I tell Thee that man is tormented by no greater anxiety than to find someone quickly to whom he can hand over that gift of freedom with which the ill-fated creatures is born. But only one who can appease their conscience can take over their freedom […] Instead of taking men's freedom from them, Thou didst make it greater than ever! Didst Thou forget that man prefers peace, and even death, to freedom of choice in the knowledge of good and evil?”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

Reading Progress

04/26/2016 marked as: read

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

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Laikhuram "My only disappointment was that the book did not go far enough."

I felt the same way. If only F Dos.'d lived longer. This book is just 1/3rd of what he'd planned.

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