The Brothers Karamazov (Recommended Reads)
I have often found it hard to focus through and complete a large novel. The Brothers Karamazov is probably the longest one I have read – and what a terrific one it is! Taking nearly year of on-off reading, this set a benchmark. I had first come across Dostoevsky through ‘Notes from Underground’ and since then I’ve been captured. Self-awareness, detailing human behaviour, and inquisitive narratives make his works so unique and too thorough to replicate. He tackles themes philosophically, politically, religiously and psychologically in a manner leaving it near impossible to not gain insight.
The story itself looks at a peculiar family affair focusing around a father and his three adult sons. Both the eldest son Dmitri and the father Fyodor are in love with a young woman named Agrafena. As can be expected in such an unusual setting, there is no shortage of drama, emotion and engagement. More than this is the contrast in characters and their roles in an overarching, and brilliant story.
Make no mistake – this is not always easy to follow. There are many characters with long names and nicknames (frustratingly common in Dostoevsky novels). Agrafena herself goes by about 4 or 5 different names. However, this book is definitely worth the patience. To try to summarise a book – that leaves one to contemplate, see things differently, and question their own viewpoints – would be to unjustly reduce it.
I still remember years after completion how I was captured by its last pages and the feeling having finished. I knew I had just completed reading a novel nothing short of a masterpiece.The way Dostoevsky draws you into intellectual conversations between characters, engages you to read through narratives as though you are involved in them, and reflect on ideas that have plagued mankind since time beginning, gives little wonder as to why he and his works are prominently cited and have been translated worldwide.