on March 18, 2010
Arrrgh. Who doesn't love Dostoevsky? Who doesn't love Penguin paperback editions? I bought this Kindle version anticipating no problems with translation or formatting. Well, the translation is certainly acceptable; Dostoevsky's style comes through. What utterly undermines my enjoyment is that the formattingall runs togetherlike this,j ust enought o makeyou crazy. Get the idea? It certainly takes the pleasure out by interrupting the flow of information from the eye to the brain.
C'MON PENGUIN! YOU ARE CHARGING 9.99 FOR A BOOK IN THE PUBLIC DOMAIN. TAKE THE TIME TO PROPERLY FORMAT!
on October 20, 2007
Echoing the previous reviewer, this product is disappointing for anyone who is familiar with this novel. And for those who are using this to become acquainted with The Brothers K for the first time, you will not only be purchasing a truncated version, but a version that arguably cuts out the most important and most famous passages. For example, the moving chapter on Zosima's life as he lies dying in his cell is missing, and so is "The Grand Inquisitor" section which Dostoevsky himself described as the culminating point in the novel. These are essential sections of the book, and without them the story is no longer what the author meant it to be.
On the other hand, Pigott-Smith is a wonderful reader, and he does a great job in every respect. Even after I realized that they were overzealous with the editing, I couldn't stop listening, because this set is truly a pleasure. I suggest that this could be used to entice those who would never read the novel to pick it up (I'm thinking high schoolers here), or just to refamiliarize yourself with the plot without getting into Dostoevsky's philosophical and theological statements.
BUT, then you've got to read the UNabridged version! You will not regret it.
on July 10, 2001
There's really no point in arguing that this anything but a really great novel. It is an epic work, with an almost epic length as well; an the exploration of the relations between three (actually four, if the illegitimate house-servant is included) brothers, the sons of a selfish, greedy, conniving, morally and physically repugnant father. In many ways, "Brothers Karamazov" can probably be viewed as a reflection of Russian intellectual/spiritual culture in the 19th century, and perhaps even beyond. Like his other works, this book also contains Dostoevsky's literary musings on the state of Russian society as he saw it. Even so, this is also weighty book: in a fashion similar to Tolstoy, Dostoevsky was quite obsessed with the concept of personal redemption, the moral catharsis (or `moral bath' as Tolstoy called it in "War & Peace"), atonement for sins, etc. and this, together with his religious mysticism (and the accompanying good vs. evil symbolism), can become quite tiresome at times. Dostoevsky was a very conservative Christian tormented by his own vices and a virulent opponent of Western European Enlightenment ideals (he viewed them as a threat to Russian culture and the Russian soul), and this is often reflected in "Brothers Karamazov." Personally, I think the best parts of the book are when Dostoevsky explores the mindsets of his various characters, creating a very psychologically tense atmosphere. Also, his portrayals of the interactions and conflicts between his various characters is superb. In this sense, it is similar to "Crime and Punishment," which is a better book - simply because it tends to focus more on one major theme. Thus, after reading "Crime and Punishment" one can easily be left with the impression that the "Brothers Karamazov" is a slight case of overkill in some aspects. However, on its own it is nonetheless a great book and definitely worth reading - although due consideration should be given to its historical context, meaning the place and time in which it was written (tsarist Russia in the 19th century).
on June 16, 2015
It was good in the beginning but I just couldn't finish it. I mean Dostoyevsky knows how to write, but it got to the point that he was focusing on so many ancillary characters at the point in the book where it finally led up to a moment where you wanted to know more that I just lost interest. Its incredibly long (debatable whether that makes it good, it all depends on how much detail you want) which if it was all centered around the main characters and those characters that are affecting them, at the current moment, I probably would've finished it.
Its a good read, if you want to know the backstory of every single character in the book. Probably 1/3rd of the book is backstory if not more. I just eventually got fed up with it. I don't care about this new character. Stop introducing new characters. I just care about the characters I already know. I don't need to know new characters life story, just the main characters encounter.
It gets so wordy sometimes I actually skipped a chapter or two and didn't miss much. I think Dostoyevsky was just writing so philosophy teachers would have a reason to cite his book in the future.
on November 1, 2012
A wordy, talky, overly long, melodramatic, often bombastic, deeply philosophical story with flashes of brilliance and wit. It includes in depth discussion and debate about God, free will, evil, morality, and psychology hung on the framework of a sometimes forced and disjointed tale. For me, Ivan's discussions with (or hallucinations about) the devil, which occur near the end of the book, were a high point. The devil's argument that he could not repent because then mankind would have no story made me laugh. I kept thinking that a better translation might make this more fluid to read, but I have no desire to find another translation and read this again.
on December 20, 2013
I compared translations. Garnett (this version), Oxford Press and Volkonsky and really the Garnett just reads the best. The Volkonsky is the supposed current favorite, but comparing passage after passage, it just doesn't flow as "real" English. I felt the same way about their translation of WAR AND PEACE. KARAMAZOV is an amazing experience. Who knew it was a Murder Mystery! But, if course it is much more than just plot. Dostoyevsky brings these characters to life and Garnett captures the big emotions involved. Highly recommended.
on April 1, 2015
I very much wanted to read this work, being a highly touted Russian classic from the late 1800s. But I've got to believe that the excellent writing did not survive this particular translation, because I saw none of it.
Further, this story about 3 brothers of the bourgeoisie class of pre-revolutionary Russia was deadeningly, horribly long. Yes, the main characters were "round," as E.M. Forster proscribed, but it took a Titanic-sized amount of background to get there, and I don't think it was worth it.
The story culminated in what may be the first literary trial, and even the suspense of that setting was hammered away by loads and loads of verbiage, not saved at all by the Shakespearean technique of using minor characters for moral judgements.
The brothers personified science, religion, and sensuality, but I am sorry to say the author's ultimate point was dead and buried under the weight of excessive text, along with the actual funeral of the only likeable character in the book.
on April 23, 2016
The plot itself is interesting and the characters, though full of hysterical, over-wrought emotions typical of Russian fiction of the time, and difficult for modern readers to relate to, are nonetheless well-developed. However, there is far too much tangential material which has little relationship to the main story and seems to have been added to give Dostoyevsky a platform to expound his religious convictions. The chapters concerning Father Zosima's life history and the story of the boy Ilyusha serve neither to advance the story, nor to contribute to the suspense, nor to round out the characters.
on June 5, 2013
The reader here has a very, very pronounced upper class British accent which detracts from the novel. Forgive me, but when I hear that accent I think snob. Is that what the author intended? I doubt it.
on May 9, 2015
This is a great piece of literature and I'm sure that lots of people simply love this book. The author certainly put a lot into character and plot development . For me, however, I thought a lot of the dialogue was extremely tedious and repetitious; some paragraphs went on for pages.
I trudged through it and did find the overall plot to be very good. Lots to think about afterward. It's not a book you put down after reading and completely forget two days later .