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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High school girlie sounds off....
Well I'm a high school sophomore and for our first reading assignment this year in AP English (our work begins in summer), we were told to choose a book and write an essay on it about the significance of the connection between a parental figure and the children, and how it contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole. OMG!!! This is an excellent, fascinating book!! I...
Published on July 6 2004 by As the Bird Flies

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3.0 out of 5 stars Make sure to check different translations
I read all the hype about Pevear's translation and decided to see for myself, reading large sections of the book and comparing sentence for sentence. Honestly, I liked the old Garnett translation better. The Pevear gets the style and tone a lot better, reads smoother, but on sections with deep emotional or religious signifigance seemed to miss the point, choosing...
Published on Jan. 20 2004 by Erik Johnson


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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars High school girlie sounds off...., July 6 2004
This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue (Paperback)
Well I'm a high school sophomore and for our first reading assignment this year in AP English (our work begins in summer), we were told to choose a book and write an essay on it about the significance of the connection between a parental figure and the children, and how it contributes to the meaning of the work as a whole. OMG!!! This is an excellent, fascinating book!! I just chose it randomly and it has become my favorite book of all time. The depth at which Dostoevsky explores his characters' emotions, his sincerity and self-deprecation, all those paragraphs on humanity (hehe)....If any one book defines quality literature, it is this one alone. I am disappointed that the author died before creating the sequel, but I doubt that he could have topped himself after writing this book. There are multitudes of great essays you could write about the themes in this story, on a million different subjects. Wow. Well, I don't know how much the humble opinion of a high schooler matters to y'all, but in my short years I have read a great amount of classic literature and nothing comes close to The Brothers Karamazov.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Could be no less than five stars., July 9 2004
By 
Daniel C. Wilcock "journal-ist" (Washington, D.C.) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue (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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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Masterpiece of Literature, March 19 2004
By 
Bradley J. Keusch (MI) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue (Paperback)
This book, by one of the greatest novelists in history, Dostoevsky, is easily the best book I have ever read in my life (albiet, at just barely 18 this is little time, but this work stands so far above the rest I have perused that it merits stating this). It is colossal, it is magnificent, it is one of the few works that have truly moved me, spoken to me at a deep level. I read this book about a year and a half ago, and it was the catalyst that allowed me to begin to contemplate the deeper things in life; it allowed me to realize the joy I find in thinking about deep questions, about human interaction. The first thing that must be talked about, and indeed what truly drives the novel, is its characters. Doestoevsky has crafted not merely one but THREE powerful, unique, and above all REAL characters that can be seen as representing three different ways of living. When I read this book I was battling with depression, and as such I found myself relating strongly to Dimitri Karamazov. What utter beauty. What utter tragedy. Dimitri himself seems to find beauty in tragedy, as is found in some of those who are depressed. He, even in the baseness of many of his actions, has this noble air about him, and that of high tragedy. His quote,
"But I'm sure that life will follow its proper course in the end: the worthy man will occupy his rightful place and the unworthy one will vanish in some dark alley and never be heard of again. And there, in that dark and filthy alley, which is so dear to him, where he feels so much at home, amidst the stench and the dirt, he'll perish happily, because that's what he really wants..."
shows perfectly the beautiful tragedy of this character; that line was burned into my mind the second I read it and it has refused to ever leave. Ivan, the most intellectual of the three, creates what for me at least was the central conflict of the book: not the parricide, but rather the tension and conflict between faith (especially in God) and reason. The conversation between Ivan and his brother Alexei (a devout Christian monk) is perhaps the most compelling scene in the whole novel, with the chapters "Rebellion" and "The Grand Inquistior" being absolutely brilliant. The idea behind Ivan's rebellion, behind his inability to accept God, is very compelling, and part of what makes the book so compelling as a whole. Indeed, what sets it apart from many other novels is that it (for the most part) it doesn't come out and tell you that this way, or this other way is the correct way to live; it simply presents life to you, as whole, through its characters and the interaction between them, and allows you to decide (and it does so beautifully). In my personal opinion, it seemed that the author declared Christianity, faith, to be the winner; Ivan's eventual decline, and (in one of the most powerful images I have ever read in any book ever) Alyosha falling to his knees and kissing the ground after seeing the vision of Zosima in Heaven seem to show that the author favors Christianity over atheism, faith over a need for absolute knowledge and fact. Indeed, I think part of what makes the characters so completely fleshed out and compelling is that the author, as it states in his bio, has moved through all these extremes in his life. He had a tough life, and was an atheist, before becoming a devout Christian, and he is able to write about these confilcting viewpoints with utter sincerity and clarity.
I realize that I am not staying very focused in my discussion, but this is because the book is so imcredibly deep that there feels like there is an almost infinite amount that can be discussed. Ultimately, you need to read this book- it is as simple as that. But I would also add that this book is not for everyone (though honestly, I feel like everyone SHOULD read it at least once). if you do not like to, or are incapable of truly THINKING about what you are reading, then you will get little out of it, and its 900 pages will pass slowly for you. But for any who truly enjoy ideas, and the contemplation of them, you will find utter joy in reading this book. It is a masterpiece, and a true work of art. It is a crowing achievement for any man, and I truly believe that my life has become better and more fulfiling as a result of reading it. I give 5 stars to the rarest of books, only the absolute best, and "5 stars" here seems like the most ridiculously inadequate description. I can think of no higher compliment to give. Very Highly Recommended.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars This Translation Makes Such a Difference, July 19 2007
By 
E. Haensel (Toronto) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue (Paperback)
This is the third translation that I have read of Dostoevsky's Brother's Karamazov (the other two being one by David Magarshack and one by Constance Garnett). I must say that this translation is stunning in its improvement over the previous two. (As a side note I have read nine other Dostoevsky books in countless translations and due find the ones by these two translators to be far superior to the rest, though Hugh Aplin's translation of Poor People would come second.)

The joy that I experienced reading this translation of Dostoevsky's incomparable masterpiece is hard to explain...really it is just a book.

But what an amazing book. This translation captures the incredible mirth that underlies and levitates this seemingly dark and haunting murder mystery/philosophic treatise. It will make you laugh, cry, furrow your brows in consternation and think deeply about the nature of existence.

This translation won the Pen/Book of the month Club translation prize, it is clear why, it has taken the fax quality rendition of the novel we had under previous translation and rendered it in vivid color and texture, reading this version is like seeing a Van Gogh or Dali painting in real life, like being at a concert instead of listening to a recording.

Oh, by the introduction and accompanying explanatory notes (on everything from religious mis-quotations, to russian-ized polish expressions) is itself worth the new edition.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Whatever else you read, read this book., June 6 2007
By 
Tracey Billson (Alberta, Canada) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue (Paperback)
What can I say that hasn't been said....... this is one of the best books I have read. It is full of real gems of insight and a great story to boot. I approached it with trepidation thinking it may be too high brow, but I am so glad I took the plunge. You have to take your time reading it but its worth it. With pencil in hand I read it marking all the ideas I wanted to remember. A second book was planned it seemed, what a pity Dostoevsky didn't live long enough for that.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Brothers Karamazov, June 15 2004
By 
Peter McGivney (Wappingers Falls, NY USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue (Paperback)
I will skip over the greatness of the Brothers Karamazov as a work of art; all the other reviewers point it out and a work that has survived a century obviously does not need me to sing its praises; and talk about Richard Pevear's and Larissa Volokhonsky's translation. I have tried to read the novel in several translations, starting with Constance Garnett's, and until now never managed to get through the novel. The translations were invariably too stiff, as though the translator was embarrassed by all the Russian carrying on and tried to make Dostoevsky read like an English novelist, toning the histrionics down, or too clunky and literal, chaining Dostoevsky to the Russian language and not allowing his meaning to be clear in English. The Pevear and Volokhonsky translation avoids both problems and is, to my mind, the best translation of the book available and one of the best translations of any book I have ever read. The translation catches the movement of Dostoevsky's prose in clear and very readable English; it even catches the humor in the book, something that most translations miss entirely. If you decide to read The Brothers Karamazov I would strongly recommend that you choose and read this translation.
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5.0 out of 5 stars POLITICALLY INFLUENTIAL, June 11 2004
This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue (Paperback)
Like "Atlas Shrugged" a century later, "The Brothers Karamazov" is not only a great novel that delves deep into the human psyche and the Russian soul, but it has been studied by political scholars. Dostoevsky came from an aristocratic family and served in the military, but gave up all that this promised him in the post-Napoleonic years to write full time.
The most telling section in "Brothers", in my view, is the conversation between Christ and the old priest during the Spanish Inquisition. This is very telling as it pertains to the "new" view of the Catholic church, a fallout of reformation, the Inquisition, and a re-thinking of Christianity. My feeling is that Islam would be well served and possibly saved if a modern Dostoevsky woulde emerge from its ranks.
When Christ forgives the evil old priest, a Satanic figure really, this is as true a view of real Christianity as any. The pomp and circumstance of Catholicism, the tortures and abuses, fade away in the blinding light of Christ's foregiveness and love. Bravo.
STEVEN TRAVERS
AUTHOR OF "BARRY BONDS: BASEBALL'S SUPERMAN"
STWRITES@AOL.COM
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5.0 out of 5 stars An Important Book, May 14 2004
By 
Nathaniel Grublet (New Haven, CT United States) - See all my reviews
This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue (Paperback)
I was a Russian literature major in college and, although I was assigned BK in at least one of my classes, I remember falling behind on the readings and guiltily faking my way through the exam. A few years out of college now, I recently took a couple weeks of vacation to do the appropriate penance for my earlier failure: to read what most people think is the masterpiece of Dostoevsky's literary career.
Those reading this presumably know the rough outline of the novel: a father and his three (possibly four) sons are introduced, their relationships are described and developed, the father is murdered, and one of the sons is accused and tried. On the surface, this plot doesn't sound like much, hardly enough for a book of this length, but Dostoevsky is so committed to painting rich characters and relationships that this novel becomes enormously complex.
My reactions to the novel were not primarily intellectual but emotional and spiritual. The overwhelming sense I got as I read BK was that here is an author and a book that take themselves seriously. Dostoevsky is not satisfied with anything trivial or small and does not shrink from such questions as the meaning of life or the existence of God. There is something profoundly refreshing and enjoyable about reading a book that casts its net wide.
Having completed the book, I also found it remarkably difficult to summarize what exactly it is "about." The simple answer is that it's a murder mystery. In reality, it becomes almost a parable of humanity: Ivan, the intellectual brother; Dmitry, the passionate brother; Alyosha, the pious brother; Smerdyakov, the vengeful servant/half-brother. Each bears responsibility for his father's murder; each struggles to learn how to live a life of meaning.
In the end, we each identify with the brothers Karamazov. We become them, and Dostoevsky asks us to share in their passions, their doubts, their faith, and their guilt. As a result, reading The Brothers Karamazov thoughtfully is, as many other reviewers have pointed out, a transformative experience.
Some authors write for themselves: to add to their reputation or to give birth to an artistic creation they've been gestating. Dostoevsky had plenty of talent and was subject to fits of inspiration, but he wrote only when he thought he had something important to say. In this novel, his subject is no less than humanity itself and, given the patience and effort to digest his writing, you will learn.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Que "masterpiece theatre" music., May 4 2004
This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue (Paperback)
**THIS SECTION IS A PREFACE**
Dostoyevsky's Brothers Karamazov was written in the twilight of his life, when this highly intelligent author had silenced most of his critics with numerous rebuttal essays and published responces to mute those not fond of his theistic approach to philosophy, and his exacting surgical naturalism with psychology and law.
Just as us westerners esteem the inklings very highly (C. Williams, Tolkein, Lewis, occasionally D. Sayer and others), the orthodox and reformed russian alike hold Turgenev, Tolstoy, and Dostoyevsky, (occasionally Pushkin) in the same esteem.
If you are serious about Dostoyevsky I would consider reading Ivan Turgenev's "Fathers and Sons" and Dostoyevsky's "Crime and Punishment," before making the endeavor of Mt. Karamazov. I recommend the two stated because I made the mistake of starting the book (BK) too early in my life, before I had read 'Fathers' and 'C&P'. Reading Turgenev, (who because of his more simplistic nature) I had many things explained to me, through quite enjoyable reading, about the volatile, brewing russian intellectual and political climate. In Fathers and Sons, Bazarov has a striking resemblence to Ivan, the olderst of the three brothers in BK. Ivan is sooooo intricate and complex as a character. This forced me often times to pigeon-hole him conveniently into the modern secular-humanist and popular atheist character. Knowing the agenda and pursuits of Bazarov helped me to understand the bitter agnostic tapestry of Ivan, and the appropriate context of most of the characters. Crime and Punishment helped me on a different level. B.K. provides a formidable paradox in that Dostoyevsky appears to be a brilliant and objective scientist, yet deeply religious and and romantic in his philosophies. Crime and Punishment is a social walk through public and personal morality and the efficacy the soul has on behavior, something that is crucial in understanding in B.K.
I also recommend reading a combined works of Schiller (a german romantic poet just pre-fyodor) whom Dostoyevsky is very fond of and quotes often in B.K.. Reading Alexander Pushkin simotaneously could prove dangerous ;) due to Dostoyevskys jocular and sardonic relationship with the romantic russian. Don't worry about Tolstoy unless you are going on a cruise with the boss for a couple weeks and wish to stay mentally sober.
This translation is by far the best, the foot notes and chapter notes were invaluable. I have read both the Constance Garnett translation and this one, and the difference for me was night and day. It would be true to say that the Garnett translation captures Dostoyevsky's prose better, but a 80 word sentence is a little too long for me, gin and tonic or not. Without further adieu, the actual review:
**ACTUAL REVIEW (thanks for the patience:)

The Brothers Karamazov is an epic that spans the far corners of Philosophy, Orthodox Christianity, Nihilism, Atheism, Heretical Catholocism, Psychology, and Law. It brushes upon Anthropology, Cultural Crisis, small scale sociology and cosmology.
Most importantly it is a powerful, moving novel about the ethos and core of what a family is; love that transforms beliefs, and that same love that inspires murder and a pantheon of crimes. It is written in the classic russina style of presenting both sides of an equation and allowing the reader to discern truth from what they will. Alyosha, the youngest of three sons is the protagonist of the novel, as well as the hero. I am feign to use the word hero, however, because he is not at all like the typical mythological hero either in the east or the west; he is a silent, listening hero, ( a still, small voice) that drives the rest of the characters around him in the most powerful display of genuine altruism I have ever read in a novel.
This book changed my life. It spoke to my mind with its intellectual and cerebral labors, but more importantly pulled at my heart, forcing a 22 year-old male college student to cry. Cana of Galilee, the catalyst chapter in the center of the book spurned an incredible personal experience for me, and has left its continuing mark more than a year later.
This book improved who I am, strenghtened my mental capacities, expanded my vocabulary, helped me be a better man to my woman, and transported me for weeks from my rut of mired western thought. If you are ready, drop everything and read this book.
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5.0 out of 5 stars My favorite book -- My favorite translation, March 1 2004
By 
This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue (Paperback)
I just have to begin my review my urging everyone to read the review by "a reader from wichita, kansas." I had always heard that the great plains were marginalized, but I had no idea.....
This is a great book. Arthur Miller ("Death of a Salesman," "After the Fall," "The Crucible," etc) was a C student, until he had read The Brothers Karamazov--and he only started reading it because he heard it was a "murder mystery." After reading this book, he decided to become a writer. Elliot Rosewater, in Vonnegut's "Slaughterhouse Five" proclaims "Everything you need to know about life is in Brothers Karamazov--but damn it! It's just not enough!" Laura Bush--spouse of the person who will never be the president of me--said during an interview on National Public Radio that this was her favorite book, with her favorite part being the chapter entitled "Rebellion." I am a former communist revolutiony, current democratic socialist--and this is my favorite book, with my favorite chapter: "Rebellion."
I want to stress two points in this review. First, this is a hefty book. If you watched HBO's "The Sopranos," you'll know that the shrink Carmello met with suggested that Tony Soprano might be saved--but only if Tony was incarcerated for seven years, and read "Crime and Punishment." Karamazov is longer. Dickens was paid by the pound for his books--and he never wrote anything approaching this book.
BUT! For the love of the cowboy buddha, do not let the size of this book scare you away. Really. This is one of those russian novels with a bizillion characters, and a bunch of plots. Still, there are two chapters that really stand out. I can't urge you more strongly to get this book--and just read those two chapters. If you want to go further, and read the whole book--fab-bu. But here's what you should read: "Rebellion" and "The Grand Inquisitor." Both chapters are about thirty pages.
"Rebellion" involves a meeting with two of the three brothers, Alyosha, a monk, and Ivan, an agnostic intellectual. Ivan starts to explain his doubts about an omnipotent, just god to Alyosha, illustrating his points with examples of horrific abuse that some children have suffered. "What is message, the ultimate answer, the goal that requires such suffering?" he asks. Whether the novel provides an answer--that depends on the reader.
"The Grand Inquisitor" is the most famous section of this novel. Later in the same meeting (it was a long meeting), Ivan tells Alyosha about a story Ivan is writing, involving the dark days of the Spanish Inquisition. Jesus returns to Spain, and simply walks the streets, without saying a word. The Grand Inquisitor--famous for burning hundreds (in not thousands) of "heretics" at the stake has Jesus arrested. Later, the Inquisitor confronts Jesus in jail, and attacks Jesus for Jesus's "mistakes," and how the church has had to correct them....
An amazing, powerful story. I try to get all my religious friends to read this--but with limited success.
My last point is I have to take issue with the previous reviewer. I love this translation--I've read both translations, and find the language in this version much better, more beautiful. But who knows.....I can't imagine there is really a popular demand for rating versions of translations of Russian novels....
Just my personal opinion, I don't think "Crime & Punishment" holds up as well as the other books. Pevear & Volokhonsky's translation of "Deamons," though, that is also excellent.
All in all, while you may not yet have heard of Fyodor, you will soon; he is without doubt one of the most articulate young novelists to have come along in the last hundred & fifty years. In his hands, novels of events that took place in 1870s pre-revolutionary Russia read as though Fyodor were there--personally. I look forward to reading his future works, wondering if he could convey the same feeling for contempory events--like the fall of the Berlin Wall.
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The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue
The Brothers Karamazov: A Novel in Four Parts With Epilogue by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Paperback - June 14 2002)
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