Sunday, March 1, 2009

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (16/81)

1880 920pages 3stars
David McDuff translation
Category: Authors New to Me

“Here however, we have not a simple murder, but a parricide! That impresses....”

I had heard that The Brothers Karamazov was one of the best books ever written. A book that every Reader must accomplish at some point in their lifetime. So when I came upon a group of pilgrims tossing around the idea of approaching it, I got onboard. Quite frankly, I wanted their companionship for the voyage. This book is quite a bit meatier than my standard fare. I wanted to read it and was afraid of it all at the same time. Afraid that I would get lost in the patronymics, that I would give up in the first 200 pages, that it would be completely over my head. First I must say that it was much more approachable, and readable, than I feared it would be. The patronymics did not give me much trouble at all. When I reached Book Two I almost gave up. This book was the epitome of what I didn’t want to read. But I endured, I skimmed a little and hoped for the best. Book Three was my salvation. And so it was, throughout the rest of tome. Some parts uphill, a test of my fortitude and some parts like a sled ride downhill, heart pounding away. The monologues on socialism, the church, etc, were hard to endure. For me, the book works best as a murder mystery, a courtroom drama. In fact, if all the philosophy were cut and the plot elements were pulled out into a ‘good parts’ version, I would have a copy on my shelves. But I must remember the time period this book was written in. I fear I am too much of a modern reader. I am glad that I read it, I did enjoy the story, but it’s not a keeper for me.

Favorite quotes:

“Very well then - tell me the truth, squash me like a cockroach.”

“In schools children are a tribe without mercy.”

“I have, as it were, torn my soul in half before you, and you have taken advantage of it and are rummaging with your fingers in both halves along the torn place...O God!”

1 comment:

Cindy B said...

It really is a chunkster, isn't it? Good for you for finishing!