Customer Reviews for

The Brothers Karamazov (Norton Critical Editions)

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 9 people found this review helpful.

It slowly changed my life. It's still haunting me.

I think I am going to read this wonderful book again. There is so much life and passion in it, that reading it again will definitely enrich my soul even further. I want to tell you how this novel changed my life. It was recommended to me by a Russian Orthodox priest ...
I think I am going to read this wonderful book again. There is so much life and passion in it, that reading it again will definitely enrich my soul even further. I want to tell you how this novel changed my life. It was recommended to me by a Russian Orthodox priest who considered it the best source of Russian Orthodox spirituality in literature. So I read it. I read it because at the time I was striving to become a true Orthodox Christian myself. The result, however, turned out the opposite: I lost any faith I ever had in the truth of the Church and all its dogmas. This book gave me an idea that if there is God, it is certainly not what we are taught He is. I think that in this work Dostoevsky reached the very height of what I would call 'a war with oneself'. He created this unforgettable contrast between what he wanted to believe (and, indeed believed at times) and what he actually was going through in his spiritual search, which were probably indescribable spiritual torments of doubt. I now have this indelible image of Ivan confiding in Alesha, arguing with Satan and, at last, denying God himself in his search for the truth. It was he, who stirred my whole being and it was Dostoevsky himself speaking through Ivan with the most profound sincerety and desperation. On the opposite, Dostoevsky introduces Alyosha, who didn't doubt, but just loved and believed. This young man, according to Dostoevsky's plan, is a prototype of Jesus Christ himself, a man in whom the truth is open within, a man through whom one can truly feel God's love. It is a fascinating character, although, Dostoevsky depicts him in the light of Christian Orthodoxy, as an example of TRUE spirituality, as opposed to any other spirituality. Nevertheless, if we were to take liberties in the interpretation of the work, put the dogmas aside and look at Alyosha as a human being, then we could boldly say, that this young man IS the embodiment of love, truth and godliness. I really would want to at least resemble such a person! And in the midst of this spiritual struggle, there is murder, treachery, repentance, love and comedy, which bring the characters out into your own life. I just love this book! I love the brothers, even though they are so different! There are so many things to love 'The Brothers Karamazov' for, but it is for this brave, but nevertheless desperate challenge to our faith, and at the same time, a great example of living it, that I praise this book so highly. It is truly as rich, thought-provoking and awe-inspiring as life itself. P.S. I highly recommend the translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky. It is the most correct and true to the spirit of the book translation available. By the way, they also translated 'Crime and Punishment', 'The Demons', 'Notes from the Underground' and lots more, so I recommend those as well. And if you really would like to get the feel of how Dostoevsky DID NOT write, try the translation by Constance Garnett! It is outdated and, frankly, in some places she took liberties at what to leave and what to take out. I read 'The Brothers Karamazov' in Russian and English, going line-by-line sometimes and discovering those literary atrocities all along the text.

posted by Anonymous on August 11, 2000

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Most Helpful Critical Review

21 out of 24 people found this review helpful.

This e-book is NOT the Pevear\Volokhonsky translation!!!

The cover that you see belongs to the Pevear\Volokhonsky translation. If you buy this e-book it is NOT THE PEVEAR translation. This is a Gutenberg press book, not the pevear. I am quite disappointed.

posted by 5681884 on December 23, 2010

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 6, 2004

    A Wonderful Classic

    Where are the authors today who can write like Fyodor Dostoyevsky? Now that I am much older I can relate to the following lines from his great book, The Brothers Karamasov: '...It's the great mystery of human life that old grief passes gradually into quiet tender joy. The mild serenity of age takes the place of the riotous blood of youth. I bless the rising sun each day, and. as before, my heart sings to meet it, but now I love even more its setting, its long slanting rays and the soft tender gentle memories that come with them, the dear images from the whole of my long happy life--and over all the Divine Truth, softening, reconciling, forgiving! My life is ending, I know that well, but everyday that is left me I feel how my earthly life is in touch with a new infinite, unknown, but approaching life, the nearness of which sets my soul quivering with rapture, my mind glowing and my heart weeping with joy.'

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