A Difficult, But Satisfying Read – The Brothers Karamazov

Tonight, I want to talk about one of the most difficult, but satisfying books I’ve ever read.  This post is about Fyodor Dostoevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov.  I tackled this book in late 2009, prior to starting this blog.  I had heard about this book for quite some time, before I picked it up.  It was part of my Summer reading list in 2009 along with several other books.  Of course, in high school, I read Dostoevsky’s Crime and Punishment, and I really enjoyed it, but didn’t read another piece of Russian literature until after college, when I tackled Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina.

Then, in late 2008, I tackled Tolstoy’s War and Peace.  That work will be the subject of a future post.  I have come to appreciate Russian literature more these past couple of years because of me tackling these books.  Here’s what the back of the book says:

The last and greatest of Dostoevsky’s novels, The Brothers Karamazov is a towering masterpiece of literature, philosophy, psychology, and religion.  It tells the story of intellectual Ivan, sensual Dmitri, and idealistic Alyosha Karamazov, who collide in the wake of their despicable father’s brutal murder.

Into the framework of the story Dostoevsky poured all of his deepest concerns-the origin of evil, the nature of freedom, the craving for meaning and, most importantly, whether or not God exists.  The novel is particularly famous for three chapters that rank among the greatest pages of Western literature:  “Rebellion” and “The Grand Inquisitor” present what many have considered the strongest arguments ever formulated against the existence of God, while “The Devil” brilliantly portrays the banality of evil.  Ultimately, Dostoevsky believes that Christ-like love prevails.  But does he prove it?

A rich, moving exploration of critical human questions, The Brothers Karamazov challenges all readers to reevaluate the world and their place in it.

This book by far, is one of the most challenging books I’ve ever read, but probably also one of the most satisfying.  I definitely feel like I could read this book again and pick something new up from it that I missed the last time.  Have you read The Brothers Karamazov?  If so, I’d love to hear what you thought!


About Jeremy

Husband, book lover, Civil War Buff. If I could read for a living I would, but unfortunately, it doesn't pay the bills!

5 Responses to “A Difficult, But Satisfying Read – The Brothers Karamazov”

  1. I’ve seen the Flying Karamazov Brothers, a comedy juggling acts ala the Marx Bros., but I’ve yet to read that book. But if you ever get a chance to see the jugglers it’s a great evening of entertainment.

    Tossing It Out and the Blogging From A to Z April Challenge 2011

  2. Funnily enough I think I went from Dostoevsky to Marx myself though for me it was Crime and Punishment. We didn’t read it at school though, I had to come to it on my own. School reading was quite linear and barren, in fact we didn’t read much at all. As for C & P I stopped after about half way as it got rather boring…I get a lot more out of reading non-fiction, including Marx.

    • I agree, there are parts of Crime and Punishment that get slow, especially during the mid-way point of the book. I found that to be the case when I read it in high school. However, right around that point in time, the book starts to pick up and gets really good in the last 50-75 pages. It definitely gets a bit more dark at that point.

      I definitely, respectfully, recommend, that you try to pick C&P up again at some point. I don’t think you’ll be disappointed.


  1. My More Difficult Reads – To Date « Beltwayliterature - February 20, 2011

    […] other day, with my post on The Brothers Karamazov being a difficult but satisfying read, it got me to thinking about some of the more difficult books […]

  2. Anna Karenina Fridays: Part I Chapters I-XX | Beltwayliterature - October 14, 2011

    […] great novels and I highly recommend them.  I’ve written about The Brothers Karamazov in this post.  Leo Tolstoy’s writings don’t seem as dark, especially given my reading of War and […]

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