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The Brothers Karamozov [Abridged, Audiobook] [Audio CD]

Fyodor Dostoyevsky , Tim Pigott-Smith
3.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (2 customer reviews)
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Book Description

April 1 2004
Dostoyevsky's famous and well-regarded 1880 novel, "The Brothers Karamazov", is a tale of bitter family rivalries. Three brothers live in a small, typical Russian town. Their father, a selfish, cunning, lascivious figure with little love for them, tries to maintain his control over them and anyone who comes within his orbit. The roots of dissent, unhappiness, hope, ambition and desire run deep in this community as everywhere, and Dostoyevsky brings them to the fore with an unexpected death. The atmospheric spell of this great work of Russian literature is maintained throughout by a masterly reading by Tim Pigott-Smith.

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From AudioFile

Three brothers, a difficult estranged father, murder, love, hate, goodness, and evil--Dostoyevsky's classic has it all. Most of all, it has Tim Pigott-Smith reading. The veteran British actor and audiobook reader offers a nuanced narration in a pleasant baritone that pitches with excitement when the action explodes and paces evenly when the story calms. It's an intelligent reading by an actor who seems to know the story intimately--no miss-paced phrasing, no character confusion. Speaking of characters, the voices of the central personalities, including the women, are distinct, believable, and revealing. Musical interludes by Scriabin and Borodin are a mood-enhancing plus, and the booklet with the detailed track listing is a model that other producers should follow. Simply lovely. A.C.S. Winner of AudioFile Earphones Award © AudioFile 2005, Portland, Maine-- Copyright © AudioFile, Portland, Maine

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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars great product, great marketing Feb. 1 2013
By Olexiy
Format:Audio CD
Sir, I see no reason of your complaining. Pay for an audio book and get a free portrait of Taras Shevchenko. It's a great example of ukrainian 'soft power' - getting to know famous ukrainian poet while listening to russian audio book.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Incorrect cover photo!!! Jan. 31 2013
By Marco
Format:Audio CD
Ahoj people!!!

How Taras Shevchenko [...] Ukrainian poet and artist, iconic figure of Ukrainian culture come to cover of this CD with Dostoyevsky`s novel?
Which idiot came up with this idea? :))

PLEASEEE use Google or Wikipedia if your knowledge is not enough...
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 4.3 out of 5 stars  240 reviews
72 of 77 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Fulfillment of Artistic Vision Aug. 3 2000
By A Customer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
"I would die happy if I could finish this final novel, for I would have then expressed myself completely."
This statement from Fyodor Dostoyevsky helps elucidate both the theme and purpose of the The Brothers Karamazov, one of the greatest masterpieces of world literature. Superficially, the novel deals with a patricide and how each of the book's characters contributed directly or indirectly to that murder.
Yet, The Brothers Karamazov, at its heart, is so much more. Its underlying theme deals with the drive for self-redemption in the eyes of both God and man and the role suffering plays in facilitating that redemption.
Fyodor Karamazov has fathered four sons, Dmitri, Ivan and Alyosha, by two wives, and one, Smerdyakov, with a peasant woman known as stinking Lizaveta.
Fyodor Karamazov, a vulgar and ill-tempered man represents, for Dostoyevsky, the Russian government of his times. Like the government, Fyodor shuns his children, preferring instead the materialistic, but joyless, life of wealth and possessions. His union with Lizaveta, who comes to represent all the peasants of Dostoyevsky's Russia, produces Smerdyakov, a bastard child who, in his own turn, will be raped and pillaged by the government and will go on to give birth, metaphorically, to bastard children of his own.
Karamazov's eldest son, Dmitri, an impulsive sensualist, finds respect as an overbearing soldier but one whose inability to pay his debts eventually turns him into a poor and irrational man.
Ivan, Fyodor's second son, is a cold intellectual who finds his fulfillment in his literary and creative abilities. He becomes famous through his writings, especially those concerning the Russian Church.
The youngest son, Aloysha, finds temporary fulfillment in the cloistered, monastic life. Outwardly innocent and naive, Aloysha struggles with his desire for spiritual fulfillment in the monastery and the joys and excitement of the secular life.
The character who provides the catalyst for change is that of Father Zosima, a character who seems to embody the strong spiritual sense that was Dostoyevsky, himself.
Father Zosima, who has lived a pure and spiritually-nourishing life, has the gift to sense both a man's motivations and his needs. Zosima tells the brothers Karamazov that a sheltered, monastic life is not a prerequisite to the achievement of spiritual riches, a fact that seems to be proven true when Zosima's corpse rots after his death in direct contradiction to Russian belief at the times regarding spiritual purity.
It is Father Zosima who, throughout the book, expounds Dostoyevsky's theory that it is suffering that will purify and cleanse our soul, thus bringing us peace. Each brother, in his own fashion, undergoes his own trial by fire, and, in the end, is better for it.
One brother, tormented by a guilt he does not deserve, must live his life in unwanted exile, or not at all, though he possesses the heart and soul of a true Russian. Another suffers the torments of a complete nervous breakdown that leaves him grappling on the very edge of sanity. Only a third son seems to find the answer he is seeking and the novel's uplifting final scene epitomizes Dostoyevsky's eternal belief in the importance of Russia's children in her future, as children hold their hands high and shout, "Three cheers for Karamazov," ending this essentially depressing masterpiece on a joyous note.
An extraordinarily complex and rich novel, The Brothers Karamozov also deals with man's response to death. All of the characters, each in his own way, attempts to flee from death and only those who can finally accept the finality of death and the suffering of living find justification and fulfillment in life.
Dostoyevsky uses many stylistic devices to expound upon his theme of redemption through suffering: imagery, irony and dreams are three of the most prominent, however, it is Dostoyevsky's wonderful ability to manipulate the third person subjective that serves to illuminate each character and bring him to life.
The Brothers Karamazov is a book that delves deeply into the heart of man and the soul of Russia. Dostoyevsky, as any true artist, presented facets of himself in all of his characters who each manages to see the world in a different way and finds redemption through his own unique vision.
Ironically, one of the brothers Karamazov is portrayed as a young man who begins to instill the seeds of change in Russia through its children, something Dostoyevsky, himself, thought was needed if Russia was ever to make the transition from a backward country to a global power. That it did, although the children Dostoyevsky envisioned as spiritual visionaries became instead, violent revolutionaries. They sought to free the peasants, not through enlightenment but through the establishment of a totalitarian state Peter the Great would have envied. Today, however, Russia tragically lies amidst the same poverty in which it was dwelling one hundred years earlier.
Clearly, Dostoyevsky's path to enlightenment, illuminated brilliantly in The Brothers Karamazov, has not yet been fully assimilated by either the people of Russia or the people of the world in general.
A sad and ironic twist to the vision of a master writer and a truly prophetic man.
112 of 123 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A dark, affecting look at man's soul (or lack thereof) July 26 2000
By Ivan Askwith - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
In his most comprehensive (and not coincidentally, his final) masterpiece, Dostoyevsky addresses and discusses a number of the most fundamental and universal issues which face man. His multiple perspectives are embodied in seperate characters -- taken together, these characters form the whole of the Karamazov family, and these perspectives constitute the whole of Dostoyevsky's view.
Each of the brothers represents a distinct school of thought or values -- the impulsive Dmitri portrays the instinctive and carnal desires of man; the nihilist, Ivan, displays the cold and unforgiving intellectual, governed by the rules of logic alone; the religious Alyosha, student to the Great Elder Zossima, depicts the humble and devout spiritualist. While the murder of their father, Fyodor Karamazov, is the catalyst to the real action of the book, it is certainly not the central focus -- a fact that might be surmised in light of the fact that the murder is not carried out until more than halfway through the text.
Instead, the work is a discussion and analysis of man's values and beliefs, and an affirmation of Dostoyevsky's fundamental conviction: that the presence of the human spirit cannot be denied without disastrous results, and that despite the assertions of the nihilists, God is a necessary element in the world of man.
49 of 52 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars I occupy myself with this mystery because I want to be a man Nov. 19 2008
By Eric Robert Juggernaut - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
Anyone interested in the central question facing mankind will find `The Brothers Karamazov' an essential guide. That question--on man's capacity for responsibility and the proper role of the state and religion--is posed throughout the story in dialogue and events, and is framed neatly in a 20-page section where Ivan presents a poem titled `The Grand Inquisitor' to his brother Alyosha. The chapter that bears that title (Book V, Chapter V) is a masterpiece in itself and should be studied for its narrative technique alone. But the ideas it presents are so immense, so mind-blowing and inspirational, that literary criticism is not sufficient.

Indeed, `The Brothers Karamazov' should not be classed merely as a novel--it is a book of philosophy, theology, and sociology as well that ranks with the greatest documents in those disciplines. 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. But the modern reader looking for a plot of twists and romantic intrigues is bound to disappointment. Dostoevsky does not stir up drama through the placement of unexpected developments or improbable character traits. Instead, he relies on the inherent needs and wants of all men to make vivid his story.

The amount of dialogue may be shocking (tedious) to one accustomed to the modern show-don't-tell policy in storytelling. Today, novelists and screenwriters let a character's actions speak for them--it is quicker and provides a much more convincing impression. It also limits the kind of ideas that are posed in the story to simple, prosaic ones like `she likes him' or `he wants to defeat him.' By contrast, Dostoevsky allows the characters to speak for themselves, which creates a much longer and subtler exposition, but also frees the ideas to be vast and monumental.

What is the fundamental nature of socialism? What are the uses of the church in finding purpose? In finding salvation? Why is there suffering? What is the meaning of death? Read the brothers' dialogues and contemplate.

Dostoevsky's own philosophy is seen in the protagonist, Alyosha. This is so despite the fact that the author ably covers every perspective on every topic presented in the book, and one can hardly find a positive assertion throughout. If there is one, it rests in the overall effect of the words and actions, a concept Dostoevsky articulated in a personal correspondence--it is that "Man is a mystery; if you spend your entire life trying to puzzle it out, then do not say that you have wasted your time."

A word about the translations: The title of Book IV has been translated differently in every version I have seen (other chapter titles are also inconsistent, but Book IV is seemingly the most difficult to agree on). The original Russian is `Nadryvy,' which literally translates to `Ruptures,' though no translations I have seen use `Ruptures.' The word is used throughout the book to convey the motif of `pressures' or `strained conditions about to break.' The various options I have seen for this title are `Lacerations' (Garnett), `Strains' (Pevear & Volkhonsky), `Torment' (MacAndrew), `Crises' (Avsey), and `Crack-Ups' (McDuff). Given this is a central theme, the potential reader might look into which translation he prefers before buying. Apropos, the Princess Alexandra Kropotkin print version bears the Garnett translation, as does the Frederick Davidson audio recording.
32 of 33 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Outstanding May 2 2008
By T. Miller - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Audio CD
I must admit that when I first began listening to this audiobook I did not care for the narrator's voice. After I made it to the second disk I began to more fully realize what a talented voice actor he actually was, and the remaining 28 disks or so were a great joy. His narration is delivered in a clear and warm manner and each character is given an unique voice and inflection. I will never be able to imagine Fyodor Pavlovitch Karamazov sounding any other way (Father Zossima as well). As far as the content of the book is concerned, The Brothers Karamazov is hands down one of the finest novels ever written. If you have never read it, this audiobook is well worth your time.
59 of 65 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The meaning of life? March 8 2001
By "zaloop" - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Mass Market Paperback
I recently read a book so amazing, so well-written, and so memorable that I simply must tell you about it. It's The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. After reading another of Dostoyevsky's novels, Crime and Punishment, a while ago, and thoroughly loving it, I had to get this one, for I had heard it was his best work. And I can't disagree. To sum up the premise quickly, the novel takes place in Russia circa 1890, and tells the story of four brothers who become involved in the murder of their own father. That is the most basic summary of the plot I can give; but it doesn't even begin to give you an idea of the territory covered in this massive, sprawling novel. (Over 700 pages of great literature.) There are other things going on besides this murder, and eventually the novel is about so much more than this.
This novel has possibly some of the best characterization I've ever seen for any book, period. This is not an exaggeration. First, the four brothers are each given their own distinct personality and background (even though they are brothers they come from different pasts) and become some of the most developed, recognizable, and memorable characters I've ever encountered. In addition, the father is one of the most pathetic, funny, and evil characters in literature. But even then, Dostoyevsky does not stop. There are probably ten or fifteen secondary characters that appear a lot, and even more third-tier figures that don't have much time in the book but are still memorable. This is because whenever a new character is introduced, the author devotes at least a couple of full, developed passages telling the reader about the person, and reveals even more through the many conversations and speeches people have. Remarkably, there are never any repetetive characters. Dostoyevsky manages to create a new, unique, living, breathing person out of every character.
This is also one of the most thematically inclusive books I've ever read, one with such depth. Thanks to the incredible characters and well thought-out plot, the novel discusses a whole range of themes. Dostoyevsky must have been a philosopher or psychologist just as much as he was a writer. Through his characters he expounds on the idea that people have the uncanny ability to harbor opposite and contrasting values within themselves at the same time. Good and evil exist side by side in the hearts of men. Dostoyevsky also shows us that some people are never happy because they don't want to be, and that this fact makes them happy. As long as they are unhappy in their own way, they remain happy, even if they know it's not to their advantage.
Dostoyevsky was so ahead of his time with this novel- his deep knowledge of humanity is so evident. Years before Freud, he develops the idea of punishment as a way to alleviate guilt and love as a way to cure shame, or as he puts it, "self-laceration." He was probably one of the very first to fully implement into his characters the concept of the split personality. At one point, one of the characters has a conversation with his alter-ego, fully aware that he doesn't exist. It's so impressive, it really puts some modern stuff into perspective.
Death, love, forgiveness, immortality, religion, God, the Devil, all of these things are more than briefly touched upon in the course of this narrative. At one point, a character remarks, "I don't know whether God created Man or Man created God, but if the Devil exists, he was created in Man's image." In one chapter, Christ comes back to earth and is challenged and shunned by the religious community. The Devil himself even appears as a person to discuss philosophy and religion with one of the characters. When he's asked, "How are you able to take on human form?" the Devil replies, "Nothing human is beyond me." Powerful, chilling moments like these fill the book.
There are so many moments of pure, unfiltered humanity in this novel, it's as if the author's whole life is bleeding through in the pages. When he creates an evil character, we believe in him, and when he creates the opposite- a truly pure figure- we believe in him, as well. In fact, this book has one of the most believably good characters of all stories. Dostoyevsky plunges the depths of man's soul, and what he brings up is sometimes scary, sometimes beautiful. If there are any stories out there that can come close to showing us the meaning of life, The Brothers Karamazov is one of them.
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