Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die discussion

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Specific List Books > The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

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message 1: by Kim (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:44PM) (new)

Kim (kimbobo) Dostoevsky is one of my favorite Russian writers...
I read it years ago when I was going though an odd "lets-read-only-Russian-authors" phase. I like it, but I thought that Crime and Punishment was much better. I don't know why, but C&P had more sticking power in my mind.


message 2: by Yelena (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:44PM) (new)

Yelena Malcolm | 110 comments I wonder if it's that, despite the grim subject matter, you sort of get an ok feeling at the end of Crime and Punishment whereas Karamazov continues to make you think and seethe. I think Karamazov is the better book, personally, but I too would say my preference lies with Crime and Punishment.


message 3: by Norman (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:56PM) (new)

Norman (normanincejakarta) Though no one of the Karamazov brothers (or their father, for that matter) grips me the way the character of Raskolnikov does, I would still say The Brothers Karamazov has a depth of thought and philosophy that ranges beyond the scope of ideas in Crime and Punishment.

It is interesting to note the progression of ideas and complexity from Notes from the Underground through C & P to TBK. He just kept getting better and better.


message 4: by Sarah (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Sarah (songgirl7) I don't know why exactly, but Russian literature has always intimidated me. Which of the classics would you say is the best one to start with? I'm thinking Anna Karenina. Would that be good?


message 5: by Kim (last edited Aug 25, 2016 12:57PM) (new)

Kim (kimbobo) i would almost start out with Tolstoy's The Kreutzer Sonata. It's short and sweet, while super interesting (and a bit creepy too!)


message 6: by Skylar (last edited Sep 13, 2008 02:25PM) (new)

Skylar Burris (skylarburris) I rate BK as one of my five favorite books of all time.


message 7: by Denise (new)

Denise | 243 comments Sarah,
If you've got Anna Karenina on the shelf, go for it. Although Kim's suggestion of something short is worthwhile. I loved Crime and Punishment and War and Peace, but they both take a serious chunk of time to finish.

I would like to read Brothers Karamazov. I'm glad so many of you speak highly of it here.


message 8: by Karey (new)

Karey (KareyShane) | 10 comments Sarah, you seriously can't go wrong with any of Dostoevsky's books. If you're intimidated, just read the first page, then the second, then the next. Before you know it, you might discover that you've lost yourself in the story.

Here's another thought: Although My Antonia was written by an American author, it has a strong Russian flavor to it and might be a gentle introduction for you. It's a phenomenally written book by Willa Cather, as you probably know already. One of my favorites.


subterraneanhomesickalien I have yet to read Brothers Karamazov, but I loved The Idiot.... and Notes from Underground.
Crime and Punishment is next on the list for me, I think...


message 10: by Katie (new)

Katie | 11 comments I'm reading Brothers Karamazov right now. Im 3/4 through it, and I just discovered a lecture on iTunes about the book. It's actually a whole course, Existentialism in Literature, that UC Berkeley recorded for podcasting, and iTunes has it for free! Anyway, I've listened to the first lecture (there are 9 for the whole book) and it's opened up so much more of the book for me than I comprehended on my own. one little tidbit the professor puts out there, is that each of the Karamazovs, the father and the three sons (he doesn't count Smerdyakov), each have an existential double, with the exact same view of the self. I am now going to be finishing it, trying to figure out who thinks of themselves in the same ways... As for my favorite Russian novel, I love Anna Karenina.


message 11: by Chloe (new)

Chloe (countessofblooms) | 151 comments Katie, thanks for that! I read Brothers Karamazov earlier this year and would love to hear some other takes on it, especially from an existential perspective.

I've haven't made it to Anna Karenina yet but am currently immersed in War & Peace, which I'm enjoying far more than I thought I would.

I'm also nearly finished with Gogol's Dead Souls, in fact just a few minutes ago I read the passage that Dostoevsky refers to in The Brothers K when talking about Gogol's metaphor for Russia as a speeding carriage. Having read Dostoevsky's interpretation first it was nice to have the primary source under my belt now. I feel like I understand that part of Brothers K a lot better now than I did originally.


message 12: by Judith (last edited Jul 30, 2011 07:07AM) (new)

Judith (jloucks) | 1203 comments Gauloises wrote: "I think I related more to each of the brothers - Ivan's tortured relationship with God, especially in the Grand Inquisitor sections, Alyosha's grief for the Elder, and Mitya, convinced he's a monst..."

Yes, yes! I am still reading it; but already I agree that such rich depth of subject matter was not matched in Crime and Punishment. Still, C and P often gets the higher critical acclaim, though not from me!


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