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The Brothers Karamazov Paperback – June 14, 2002


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 824 pages
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux; 12th edition (June 14, 2002)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0374528373
  • ISBN-13: 978-0374528379
  • Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.5 x 8.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (197 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,218 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"[Dostoevsky is] at once the most literary and compulsively readable of novelists we continue to regard as great . . . The Brothers Karamazov stands as the culmination of his art--his last, longest, richest and most capacious book. [This] scrupulous rendition can only be welcomed. It returns to us a work we thought we knew, subtly altered and so made new again."--Donald Fanger, Washington Post Book World

"It may well be that Dostoevsky's [world], with all its resourceful energies of life and language, is only now--and through the medium of this translation--beginning to come home to the English-speaking reader." --John Bayley, The New York Review of Books

"Heartily recommended to any reader who wishes to come as close to Dostoevsky's Russian as it is possible."--Joseph Frank, Princeton University

"Far and away the best translation of Dostoevsky into English that I have seen . . . faithful . . . extremely readable . . . gripping."--Sidney Monas, University of Texas

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Russian

Customer Reviews

Like most mortals, I rarely read 800 page books more than once.
Daniel C. Wilcock
There is a fictitious plot, of course, and the characters in the story are some of the most interesting in all of literature, so it is rightly praised as a novel.
Eric Robert Juggernaut
Dostoevsky's The Brother's Karamazov was his last and greatest novel.
David James Trapp

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

412 of 429 people found the following review helpful By Daniel C. Wilcock on July 9, 2004
Format: Paperback
I cannot compare this translation to the others. Like most mortals, I rarely read 800 page books more than once. However, I can attest that The Brothers Karamazov, as translated here, combines the moving human drama we expect from Dostoevsky with liberal dose of wry humor. The text seems modern and fresh, the circumstances and petty humor surrounding the characters so central to the human predicament that the story is timeless.
And what a story: It is (among many things) a satire of human corruption, a meditation on faith and religious institutions in an age of skepticism, a murder mystery involving love triangles, a courtroom thriller and in the end a testament to the goodness and bravery humans are capable of.
The story follows the lives of old man Karamazov, a filthy penny-pinching lech and his three sons. Each son represents a different side to the Russian character: Dimitri the spoiled lout (or the prodigal son), Ivan the tortured intellect, and Alyosha the spiritual searcher.
Alyosha, Dostoevsy says, is our hero. And he does represent a certain Christian ideal. He, in the end, stands for brotherhood and meekness in the face of temptation. These qualities, no doubt, are what Dostoevsky suggests will preserve and redeem the Russian nation. All around Alyosha is the carnage caused by people who are not awake to this truth -- and they wallow in suffering.
This book, the last Dostoevsky wrote, also presents an intricate political/religious landscape. We see Russia on the brink of socialist forment, and the church is not spared in the skepitism of characters like Ivan, who, in the 'Grand Inquisitor' chapter, presents the most spine tingling critique of organized religion I've ever read.
But, after 800 pages Brothers Karamazov is a book that burns so brightly and is so capable of moving a reader that the book's cost will seem paltry and the reader who comes through will find his or her knowledge of the human soul expanded. A+.
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194 of 204 people found the following review helpful By Christopher L. Kawaja on January 28, 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Before you dedicate many hours to reading this masterpiece, you must be sure you select the appropriate translation for your reading style. The Pevear translation - although highly acclaimed - may make it difficult for most readers to grasp the essence of this beautiful story, and therefore I would almost always recommend the McDuff version ahead of the Pevear.

The Brothers Karamazov presents the same challenge for every English translator; namely, Dostoevsky took pride in creating distinct voices and syntax for each of his characters, and most translations have sacrificed the syntax and voicing to make it more readable - in the process losing much of the tone of each character. Pevear's translation is known for being the truest to the original, as it replicates the syntax with an almost academic precision. However, in being so true to the syntax and voicing, Pevear leaves sentence structures that are so unfamiliar-sounding to the native English speaker as to be disruptive. Many times as I read this translation I found myself jolted out of the flow of reading because the phrasing felt so awkward. As an example of a difficult sentence:

Pevear: "These occasions were almost morbid: most depraved, and, in his sensuality, often as cruel as a wicked insect, Fyodor Pavlovich at times suddenly felt in himself, in his drunken moments, a spiritual fear, a moral shock, that almost, so to speak, resounded physically in his soul.
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136 of 150 people found the following review helpful By Jason Cigan on January 16, 2007
Format: Paperback
If a greater novel than THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV has ever been written, I haven't found it yet.

Fyodor Dostoevsky, unquestionably among the greatest novelists of all time, finished his literary career on an emphatic note, publishing KARAMAZOV only a few months before his death. Herein are all of the masterful themes, motifs, and devices of Dostoevsky's earlier works, all converging in one culminating masterpiece: the chilling, penetrating introspection and gut-wrenching humanity of CRIME AND PUNISHMENT; the contrary depiction of man's capability to do good of THE IDIOT; the intrigue and dark satire of DEMONS; and the existentialistic inquisitiveness and philosophical investigation patent to NOTES FROM UNDERGROUND. Throw in an impeccably diverse and symbolic cast of characters; a gripping plot; and an inumberable quantity of subplots, moral struggles, and ideological discussion, and the end result is an epic tragedy that will evoke, throughout its course, the full range of emotions of its reader.

KARAMAZOV prominently features the most thoroughly unsympathetic literary character since... well, does Satan from THE BIBLE count? This character is the patriarch of the eponymous siblings, Fyodor Pavlovich Karamazov, and he is everything that is detestable and despicable about human nature: a liar, an adulterer, a penny-pincher, an absent father, a womanizer, and possibly worse. He has fathered four children (presumably; the novel accounts for three and hints at a fourth), and raised none of them. But that's not the worst of what he's done. What is? Well, I won't spoil it for you now.

The four brothers of the title each represent a different embodiment of the Russian spirit and, by extension, the human spirit.
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