The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

The Brothers Karamazov was the last novel written by Fyodor Dostoevsky.  The story is set in 19th-century Russia, and it revolves around a wicked old man named Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov and his three adult sons.  From oldest to youngest, the brothers are named Dmitri, Ivan and Alyosha.  Dmitri is similar to his father in that he is impulsive and immoral.  Ivan is more of a thoughtful and intellectual person.  Alyosha is kind-hearted and religious.  He has joined a local monastery, and he strives to maintain peace in his family amid growing tensions between his father and his brothers.

As the story unfolds, a terrible crime is committed, and one of the Karamazov brothers is the primary suspect.  This leads to a dramatic series of events, with many surprising outcomes.  Overall, this novel is quite dark, as it explores the thoughts and behavior of various evil and immoral people.  At the same time, characters such as Alyosha strive to maintain virtue and goodness.

This novel was extremely well-written.  I read an English translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky, which flowed very well, even though this novel was originally written in Russian.  Each character seems to have a unique voice, which makes the story feel very realistic.  I was deeply impressed by the interactions between the father and the three Karamazov brothers.  The ending of the story was particularly satisfying.

This is a gripping novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  It is no wonder that Fyodor Dostoevsky is considered one of the greatest authors in history.  The characters have so much depth, and the storytelling is so realistic, that I almost found it hard to believe this was fictional.  I consider this one of the greatest novels I have ever read, and it deserves to be considered one of the great masterpieces of literature.

The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky is available to checkout from the Mission Viejo Library. It is also available to download for free from Libby.

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