October 6, 2010

Book Review: The Brothers Karamazov

Title: The Brothers KaramazovThe Brothers Karamazov (Bantam Classics)
Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky
Publisher: Bantam Books (1970)
Pages: 936
Genre: Classic Russian Literature

Set in 19th Century Russia, four adult brothers, each with different ideals and standards come together in a story of depression, drama, disagreement, crime, mystery, and jealous romance. During their upbringing their father, Fyodor, is negligent of his children and each is raised separately. With an unconcerned father each brother sinks into his own unique form of depraved and amplified human nature.

The oldest, Ivan is trapped by his intellect. Dimitri is trapped in his passion. The youngest brother, Alyosha is the proclaimed hero and he adds the only hope and love to a tragic tale, but he is trapped by his faith in a God that allows salvation through a means of self proclamation. And lastly, Pavel is trapped by his circumstance. Once each character is established, Fyodor is murdered. Dimitri is suspected and a trial begins.

The struggle presented is that of morality and how one deduces it. Each character provides different methods of moral deduction. The details are crisp in a dull and dark landscape. The story is sharp in a daft and dreary town. The discussions are interesting. The characters are complicated, several of whom have name changes throughout with no warning.