The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky
Finishing the last page of Dostoyevsky’s last book can be regarded as a personal milestone. You are entitled to congratulate yourself for having had the courage to tackle it in the first place (no such kudos for finishing though – that’s a given). In attempting to write a review however, the milestone becomes a millstone. Many have shared their opinions before you – Kafka liked it and Hemingway did not; atheists and Popes have applauded it antithetically; historians and ethicists have polarised and galvanised opinions while many persons of universally accepted wisdom have referred to it has the greatest book ever written.
Descriptions of the story abound so I will not retell it – it is merely the pinhead on which Dostoyevsky’s angels dance. The plot is only the portent of the themes and these are exposed by the players. To convey what he seeks to deliver, Dostoyevsky uses his exceptional gift for characterisation to portray the contradictions of the human condition. Continue reading