The Brothers Karamazov

My copy of The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky was left to me by a friend who imparted the slightly ominous statement that I was the only person he knew who might actually read it and understand it. I carried the book amongst my meager possessions for three years, and when I finally tackled the tome, it took me an uncharacteristically lengthy bit of time to finish reading it—nearly three months. I’m glad I didn’t discard it unread. Dostoevsky’s final novel isn’t some piece of pulp or fluff that can be sped through, but instead it’s a weighty work that must be enjoyed and pondered over a piece at a time. Perhaps it’s because this type of literary novel isn’t often my cup of tea, but I sometimes found the plot got lost, or at least set aside in favor of lengthy discussions about the nature of good and evil, God and the Devil. I don’t know that I understood it like my friend said I would, but these dissertations certainly provoked me to thought, and took a while to digest. Dostoevsky’s concept of the dual nature of man—that we are capable of both great good and great evil—isn’t precisely a revolutionary idea, and it’s one I’ve witnessed proved true on many occasions, but is presented here in a concise and measured manner. I found reading The Brothers Karamazov to be quite an undertaking but a worthy one.

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