Customer Review

408 of 424 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could be no less than five stars., July 9, 2004
This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov (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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Showing 1-9 of 9 posts in this discussion
Initial post: Jan 18, 2008 3:55:04 PM PST
Readers who enjoy this book may also enjoy Hubert Dreyfus' course on existential literature available for free from UC Berkley. Dreyfus discusses the Brother's K. along with other classics in this genre. The course is accessible thru i tunes/i tunes u/ UC Berkley.

In reply to an earlier post on Apr 1, 2008 11:52:43 PM PDT
Samwise says:
I wholeheartedly agree. As a Berkeley student, I am currently taking this course with Professor Dreyfus. His perspective is unique and insightful, and I am getting much more out of the book because of his lectures.

In reply to an earlier post on May 25, 2009 12:42:41 AM PDT
I took the course with Prof. Dreyfus back in 1991. It was one of the best courses I took at Berkeley. I'm glad to hear that he is still teaching there. The Brothers Karamazov is still one of my all-time favorite books. I've read it several times and got a new perspective each time. I highly recommend this novel.

In reply to an earlier post on May 30, 2009 9:10:26 PM PDT
Bruce Stern says:
Thank you, Reader from Aurora, for the info about the Dreyfus course on iTunes.

Posted on Oct 11, 2009 8:03:08 PM PDT
Last edited by the author on Oct 11, 2009 8:10:45 PM PDT
Maria C. says:
I don't read more than one translation either. Who has the time? What I do is research contemporary history and customs.

Posted on Mar 9, 2012 10:28:24 PM PST
Reviewer says:
A perfect rendering of what Dosteovsky's masterpiece offers the reader.

Posted on Nov 24, 2012 12:54:17 AM PST
fra7299 says:
Amazing review. I read this a few years back in college and it quickly became a favorite, along with Crime and Punishment.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 11, 2014 5:27:43 AM PST
L. Sive says:
I have a laptop. Can I get the lectures over the Internet? If so, can you give precise instructions? Many thanks.

In reply to an earlier post on Feb 24, 2014 10:47:01 AM PST
igetair says:
Google "existentialism in literature and film dreyfus" and it's the first hit. The lectures can be downloaded in .mp3 format for free.
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