Customer Reviews for

The Brothers Karamazov

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Most Helpful Favorable Review

7 out of 8 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 August 11, 2000

    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 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.

    7 out of 8 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 6, 2007

    A reviewer

    I'm nearly finished with Dostoevsky's brilliant book, and I highly recommend it to anyone interested in classic literature. Dostoevsky had the proclivity to inundate his novels with a copious amount of religious fervor (which reflects the years in which it was written..circa 1878-1880 C.E.), however, that in no way diminishes the overall experience. Dostoevsky deserves my utmost respect, and now takes his place alongside such iconic figures as: Albert Einstein, Leonardo da Vinci, Ludwig van Beethoven, and Edgar Allan Poe.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 14, 2006

    Wow.........................

    This book is incrediable, an absolute materpeice. Although at first the sheer size is intimidating, Dostoevskies writing style is so wonderfull that the pages simply fly by. Also you if you study philosophy you see where latter philosophers(Nietzsche, Sartre, and many others) got many of their prominate ideas. I'm not going to comment on the actual book, because it is so profound, deep, and a sheer joy to read, that it woild be almost sinfull to spoil the suprising turns and plot twists. JUST READ THIS BOOK!!!!!!!!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 28, 2011

    A Book Well Worth The Effort

    I was asked recently "Why Dostoevsky." This from a Russian who admires Tolstoy. I will never try placing either Tolstoy or Dostoevsky above the other as they are both astonishing writers, but when I answered for Dostoevsky, I used almost only this book as my reason why. Firstly Karamazov is a very deeply written book. The characters are monoliths, they are not a one dimensional representation of a person, but real people. Next the events in the novel are drawn very carefully and beautifully. There is love, desire, anger, hatred, understanding, and everything in between. The most famous part of this novel is of course the "Grand Inquisitor" scene. It alone would guarantee this books immortality, but there is so so much more. Its worth the time required to read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2006

    A classic story

    The greatest soul writer of all times and great contributor to human psychology successfully created a beautiful and amazing dynamism between the Karamazov brothers that has been the core of many stories after involving siblings. There is the unreliable father, the old Fyodor Karamazov whose life dominates his sons and whose death casts a huge shadow on their future.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2006

    Brilliance sheer brilliance

    What can you expect from a man who left petersburg in chains becuase his writings went against the tzar and the politics going on? Or a man who endured 6 months of the silent treatment in solititary confinement because of those very writings? Dostoevsky's novel is just brilliant. Character development, and his understanding of the human soul, the good, the bad and the disgraceful. It is a true work of literary art and if you happen to be into philosophy, you won't be a true philosopher till you read it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 15, 2006

    Brilliant

    This book was fantasticin the fact that the character developments were flawless. Each character, while labeled in some way, was fully rounded and made you feel like it was a real person you could know.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 15, 2006

    You NEED to read this

    I've read hundreds of works in contemporary literature. This is by far my favorite novel ever. This work has few rivals for sheer substance and character developement. This is the masterpeice of a master. Everything you need to know about life is in this book. Alyosha Karamazov is the best character I've ever encountered, he is the ulimate hero of moral virtue.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted September 19, 2005

    This book has everything!

    Each character is brilliantly identified so that you know them personally. Alexei, the monk, Karamazov Ivan, the most like his father, eloquent, and troubled by his own madness and Dmitri the self-proclaimed buffoon, the ladies man, the drunk, vying for the affections of Grushenka as is his father Fyodor, another self-proclaimed buffoon and drunk. Throughout, there is a battle between sanity and hysterics, realism and sensualism. The author sees troubled youth at the age of 13 needing a psychiatrist. He vividly describes his characters with 'brain fever'. He sees his own Russia in disarray, disorder, and sees the loss of personal values, where 'everything is permitted'. There is greed, jealousy, anger, gloom, despair in most of his characters. All his characters are 'dark' to say the least, with fleeting moments of joy. There are so many deep philosophical questions raised in this book. 'Does God exist, yes or no?' 'If not, perhaps there is a need to create the need for God.' There are surprises as well, showing limits of human capacity for suffering. Wow, what a great book!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted March 7, 2013

    A great classic

    I am not sure regarding earlier reviews. This book is the Constance Garnett translation. It is the same as the1957 softcover unabridged copy from an Existentialism class. I can't speak of other translations but this one was good enough for university study. Not only is it a good story but, it lays down philosophical foundations. Moral questions are asked. While Dostovesky is said to believe in God at core he has presented a legitamate altenative to the three temptations of Jesus. It is a deep book. A look at Russian character is interesting. Has it changed?

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 19, 2012

    An edition I have not read before.

    So far I am enjoying it very much. I like tthe style of the interpretation.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 13, 2011

    Recommends

    I've opened this book several times without problem.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 20, 2005

    Wonderful book, but buy an unabridged edition.

    This book demonstrates Dosoevsky's prowess as a writer and includes some of the best literature ever written. Do not buy this edition of the book, however. I bought it a while ago and finally got around to reading it (which I wish I had done sooner), but in reading it I realized that by abridging the book, Barnes & Noble eliminated a key section of the book in Ivan and Alexey's conversation, during which Ivan relates the story of 'the Grand Inquisitor.' Though this part does not directly impact the resolution of the novel, it embodies significant theological and philosophical concepts which should not be disregarded.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 3, 2004

    Strange

    This book has been praised by devout atheists, hopeless existentialists, and conservative christians alike. Dostoevsky give a person all sides of the story we call life. While the both isn't perfect, it is worht reading.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2002

    Pity Dostoyevsky died and couldn't continue.....

    Such a tragedy it ends here and we don't know what happens. But even still it is such an amazing work of art. It is now my favorite book. I am in awe. And I hope when I die I meet Dostoyevksy in the literature dept. of heaven and he's got the sequals ready. If not, may I fall into the firy depths when I die.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 28, 2002

    PERHAPS THE GREATEST WRITTEN INSIGHT INTO THE HUMAN HEART

    This is perhaps the greatest novel ever written. It reveals timeless truths about the psychology, spirituality, and base nature of man. All of Dostoevsky's previous works were character sketches for this final masterpiece. A required read for every intellectual.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted October 8, 2002

    An enlightening novel of amazing depth

    I'm seventeen years old and I must say that this is an incredible piece of literature. Do not dismiss the book because of its length, for it is thoroughly enjoyable to read. It possesses some of the most fleshed-out unforgettable characters in a novel. Even though it was written in the 1800¿s, it deals with many modern day issues. Pick up this book to read as soon as you can!

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 29, 2002

    Apocalypse in miniature

    Archbishop Fulton Sheen suggested this work to me--for he once mentioned it as being one of the three greatest apocalyptic novels of all time. Knowing the book to be about a Russian peasant family, I was intrigued enough to give it a try. I finished the book, which is quite long, in one sitting. My only thought in describing it is to say that perhaps the whole of the human experience is bound up in it, that the devils and angels battle in the heavens, that God quietly and patiently tests each man and gives him his chance for redemption. All this, and Dostoevsky finds the perfect metaphor in the Russian peasantry of his own day--who prophetically found themselves soon swept up in the anarchy and desolation of the Communist Revolution. And it must be remembered, that it was a soul just like Ivan Karamazov who began it all--Vladimir Ilyich Ulyanov, more commonly known as 'Lenin.' I have no doubt that Dostoevsky was one of those individuals possessed of near supernatural insight into reality--if one wishes to read the words of a true prophet, and one who speaks of our time, one need only read The Brothers Karamazov.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 26, 2002

    Excelent - Like most other works by Dostoevsky

    You have to be patient through this one. Dostoevsky warns you as he introduces that this is not just another novel but a detailed account of the life of Alexey Karamazov. But as you go through the novel you will find yourself involved deeply with all of the characters, and it is told with such preciseness that you will feel acquainted will them and might even take sides on supporting one or another. Dostoevsky once again portrays the human psichology with an overwhelming accuracy despite 120 years of time difference. His last novel certainly is one of the greatest books of all time.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 12, 2001

    Simply Wondrous

    The one word to describe this book is just that, wondrous. The reader is forced to realize things about themself while reading...this is just such a wonderful title

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