Friday, January 19, 2007


The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Yippee!! Yahoo!! I finished it. (This is not a good sign, I regret coming to the end of a really good book.) Let me fill you in as best I can on the story of the Brothers K. The father, Fyodor Pavlovitch, is a crass, obnoxious, old reprobate who is in love with his money and very little else. Son No. 1, Dmitri Fyodorovitch Karamazov, aka Mitya, is from his first marriage and was raised by a maternal cousin. (Fyodor was not a good father) Son No. 2, Ivan Fyodorovitch Karamazov and Son No. 3 Alexy Fyodorovitch Karamzov, aka Alyosha, are products of the second marriage and were raised by a maternal grandmother. There is an alleged son No. 4, Smerdyakov, the product of a possible rape of the village idiot. There are two female characters: Katerina Ivanovna aka Katya and Agrafena Alexandrovna aka Grushenka. These names are used throughout the book and, for a while, I couldn't tell who was being talked about. But it was just part of the whole confusion. I truly believe if the names hadn't been so long (there were many more characters with similar names) the book might not have qualified as a chunkster. This book is considered to be Dostoevsky's masterpiece and Sigmund Freud called it one of the three best books ever written. I understand Freud's preoccupation with the book as most of the characters seem crazy or, at the least, unbalanced. I just don't understand this novel. There is so much talking in the book. The mood swings in each monologue made my head spin. This happens with several characters. After reading the afterword, I see that I missed the whole point. I'm still not sure what that point is. One good element: I liked the narrative device. The story is told by a townsperson, an observer that we never meet. As the story unfolds, past happenings come out to explain the current events. For some reason, this worked well in the evolving of the story at the beginning. After the murder, it became too hard to follow what was going on. I found this a very hard book to read and gave up understanding it quite early. With the exception of Alyosha, I found the characters were excitable, mean-spirited, then emotional, then overly affectionate, then ranting. Well, it goes on and on.
Rating: 2

posted by Framed at 7:43 PM

booklogged said...
This one has never called out to me. From your review and rating of it, I am glad I've never felt like reading it. Wow, you've read 2 classics AND 2 chunksters already! Good job.

I finished The Woman in White and loved it. I hope I get a review up tomorrow.

9:45 PM
Alyson said...
I tried to read this one once. I think I made it 150 pages and gave up. I remember liking Alexy (Alyosha) the best of all the characters, but I just couldn't make myself keep reading.

10:46 PM
Cassie said...
I actually liked this book quite a bit. More the first half than the second. You just plowed through it. I'm amazed at how fast you read that. I'm glad I read it and you too. One more to check off the list.

1:41 AM
Framed said...
Cassie, I remember that you had liked it so I thought I would too. Guess not.
Alyson, Alexy was the only sane character. I was hoping he and Lise would get together in the end, but no, she starts acting weird also.
Book, too many other good books to tackle this one. I'm looking forward to hearing about the Woman in White. Collins is such a good writer.

9:51 PM
Joy said...
UGH! Thank you for the heads-up! :) The good news is now you can move on to something else.

7:04 AM
Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...
You really did plow through it! I remember liking it but now I feel like I should reread it...

1:12 PM
acquisitionist said...
Thankyou for the honest review! Congratulations on getting through it. I'm in the initial stages of reading it and like you I have trouble following the names. But, I loved Crime and Punishment so I hope it is as enjoyable.

7:41 PM
Bellezza said...
Being the lover of Russian literature that I am, I'm dying to get to this. I bought a copy a few years ago, and it was on my list even before then! The other reason I want to add this novel to my knowledge base is because Madeleine L'Engle once said it was her favorite book of all time. So, I'll come comment when I've read it. I'm surely glad you did!

6:55 AM
Bookfool said...
Oh, wow, I hope I don't feel the same way about it if I ever get to this book! Congrats on getting through two chunksters, already! I'm in awe! I can't even get through my first one. I just keep putting it down and thinking, "Later, later." I'm gonna flunk my own challenge.

BTW, sorry I don't come by more often. It took several attempts just to get this stupid comment window to open. I should be kissing the computer screen. LOL

3:54 PM
nessie said...
Bookfool I love you! You won't flunk promise!

Is this the first Dostoy you have ever read? Because I was warned NOT to ever start with this book - like Faulkner - D is the type of author you have to grow into...

9:38 PM
3M said...
I'm sorry you didn't like this book. I love Russian lit, so I really loved this one. However, I did skim a few parts that were overly detailed. I hope to read it again at some point

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