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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic story
THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, which is one of Dostoyevsky's all time best, perhaps the best, adds to make him perhaps the best writer of all times. The author came up with so many great ideas and characters that are so real to life even in their complex emotions and rationales that we relate to the characters as if we are in their heads. In the end, not only do we have a great...
Published on Dec 28 2006 by Sergey Vasilev

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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Bad Translation
Great Book Bad Translation, Jul 20 2007

I have read this translation of BK as well as one by David Magarshack, and a new one by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhinsky. The recent translation by Pevear and Volokhinsky is much much better than this one by Constance Garnett (which is better than Magarshack's)

Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhnsky are...
Published on July 19 2007 by E. Haensel


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A classic story, Dec 28 2006
THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, which is one of Dostoyevsky's all time best, perhaps the best, adds to make him perhaps the best writer of all times. The author came up with so many great ideas and characters that are so real to life even in their complex emotions and rationales that we relate to the characters as if we are in their heads. In the end, not only do we have a great story, we are also left with a beautifully written work of political, psychological, sociological, ethical and psychological thought that is very true not only to Russia, but to other lands and peoples as well.

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.

Sensual Alyosha who is the youngest of the Karamazov brothers is the main character of the story, and he is noted for his strong faith in god and humanity, deep kindness and sense of sacrifice.

Ivan the atheist has a sharp mind and is the critical analyzer who seeks for meaning in everything. He is skeptical and dwells more on rationale in his dealing with people and issues. In the end, his intellectual mind misleads him and opens the doors to the nightmares in his life.

Dmitry is the sensitive brother who has a strong consideration for anything living, Smerdyakov their half-brother, is the cunning illegitimate son of old Fyodor Karamazov and works as Fyodor's servant.

The characters of the brothers and the events of their lives made for the complex and fascinating story of exceptional proportions, where faith, meekness, atheism, indifference and slavery to negative instincts and impulses are often in conflict. Faith and atheism or disbelief in God is taken to epic proportions in Ivan's encounter with the devil.

Dostoevsky stated that, "when there is no God, all is permitted.". That assertion is reinforced in books like UNION MOUJIK,THE IDIOT and CRIME AND PUNISHMENT. The absence of God or lack of faith in man makes it possible for man to thrive in his worst animal instincts. Even when man starts with good intentions, the absence of faith usually derails him to the point where the good intentions are overshadowed by the negative effects of his actions. My conclusion is that this is a rare masterpiece.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Bad Translation, July 19 2007
By 
E. Haensel (Toronto) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov (Paperback)
Great Book Bad Translation, Jul 20 2007

I have read this translation of BK as well as one by David Magarshack, and a new one by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhinsky. The recent translation by Pevear and Volokhinsky is much much better than this one by Constance Garnett (which is better than Magarshack's)

Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhnsky are ideal translators for Dostoevsky (he has a PhD in Russian Literature from London and is a native English speaker, she studied literature in Russia and is a native Russian speaker), they live together in France and decided to retranslate this work after she read an English translation and, knowing the Russian original, was disgusted by the translation. Their translation won a Pen/Book-of-the-Month-Club Translation Prize.

Brothers Karamazov is a good book by any translation, but is elevated to one of the peaks of modern fiction by Pevear and Volokhonsky's translation, pass this edition up and by their translation...it's worth the extra pennies.
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7 of 9 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Great Book Bad Translation, July 19 2007
By 
E. Haensel (Toronto) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I have read this translation of BK as well as one by David Magarshack, and a new one by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhinsky. The recent translation by Pevear and Volokhinsky is much much better than this one by Constance Garnett (which is better than Magarshack's)

Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhnsky are ideal translators for Dostoevsky (he has a PhD in Russian Literature from London and is a native English speaker, she studied literature in Russia and is a native Russian speaker), they live together in France and decided to retranslate this work after she read an English translation and, knowing the Russian original, was disgusted by the translation. Their translation won a Pen/Book-of-the-Month-Club Translation Prize.

Brothers Karamazov is a good book by any translation, but is elevated to one of the peaks of modern fiction by Pevear and Volokhonsky's translation, pass this edition up and by their translation...it's worth the extra pennies.
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5.0 out of 5 stars One of the best, May 5 2004
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This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov (Hardcover)
This book took me three months to read but it was well worth it. The character development and plot will not let you put this book down. I could see the traits of the characters in many people I have meet throughout my like. I highly recommend it.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Essential Dostoevsky, beginners maybe start elsewhere, May 1 2004
By 
Karl Becker (Iowa, USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov (Hardcover)
The Brothers Karamazov is a magnificent piece of literature. Anyone the least bit familiar with Fyodor Dostoevsky will easily spot his hand at work here, which means some familiar ground for readers of other works by the author. This is not at all negative, however; this volume overflows with illuminating, thought-provoking Dostoevsky ideas.
The Constance Garnett translation is somewhat awkward; I find Garnett overly monotonous and convoluted. Though Dostoevsky is no quick nor casual read, his text was certainly confused in some of Garnett's meandering passages. I feel other translators do a more concise and entertaining job, while keeping the same ideas intact, though I've only briefly read other translations.
To give evidence to my critique, the notes on translation in the back of my text indicate some issues, including the title itself! Instead of "The Brothers Karamazov," the book should probably be "The Karamazov Brothers." As editor Ralph E. Matlaw states, "we do not refer to 'the brothers Kennedy'," and I'll mention "the sisters Hilton." On the bright side, I feel the strange title makes the book feel more "foreign" and exotic.
Matlaw also states Garnett doesn't just confuse the reader with some language, but actually simplifies and cleans up other language, turning at least one character into a more polished version than Doestoevsky probably intended. Thankfully, Garnett's peculiarities become familiar and comfortable. Overall, this book is sufficiently readable.
Of note to first-time Dostoevsky readers is the extreme number of characters quickly introduced near the beginning of the book, with the traditional cavalcade of Russian names, surnames, and nicknames. This is no deficiency of the translator, but rather a difficulty inherent with the source text.
Fans of Dostoevsky may simply be wondering: is this worth the time to read? After taking in all 700+ pages, I can answer a resounding yes. Ideas introduced in earlier works are here fleshed out into living, breathing, bleeding human beings. I feel the characters are some of the most real I've ever encountered in literature. The variety in people eases the reader's process of identifying with a character; I identified with multiple throughout the book.
For those being introduced to Dostoevsky, Crime and Punishment may be better, simply because Karamazov has a slow, disorienting beginning. However, if you enjoy the Russian master, you will relish in the delight of Karamazov.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Yes it is good, March 24 2004
This review is from: The Brothers Karamazov (Hardcover)
The philosophy and all that stuff is the best part. The actual plot is kinda slow at first. I must admit the mystery was better than I expected. The Grand Inquisitor is the most thought provoking part, along with the Monk section. Almost as good as War and Peace. Alessandro Manzoni's The Betrothed is a good companion to these two. All these authors are not just good novelists. They make us think and reflect on our own lives and actions.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Russian Gen Xers Looking for Love, June 5 2002
By 
Matthew E. Olken "BostonToAustin" (Austin, TX United States) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This recent Russian novel has lately been getting a lot of attention in America following the release of The Brothers McMullen, an American movie based upon the book. With all of the hype surrounding the film, this new English translation should propel Dostoevky's work to the bestseller list and may even become one of Oprah's new favorites!
The story focuses on three Gen X brothers, Dmitry, Alexi and Ivan, coming to terms with relationships and careers in the ironic and apathetic late-90s. Dmitry is the party kid, recklessly drinking and gambling and picking up loose women. His character is clearly inspired by the anti-heroes of Jay McInernery and Bret Easton Ellis. Then there's the thoughtful college student Ivan. He is wracked with indecision as he finds that his philosophy courses have only prepared him for jobs at the local Safeway. The youngest, Alexi, is the good kid - a former altar boy with a big heart and an eye for good deeds. He becomes increasingly frustrated when he finds that girls don't always go for nice boys.
The three brother's lives are all impacted by their troubled relationship with their foolhardy and negligent father. Having lost two wives, his role as a single parent is compromised by excessive drinking and disorderliness. Their troubled household is clearly inspired by some of the seminal writings of S. E. Hinton.
When the father unexpectedly dies, the plot takes a 180 degree turn and we suddenly find ourselves in an intense Law & Order style courtroom drama. Look out O.J.! Solving this crazy whodunit becomes a real brain twister. Lovers of teen drama and mystery novels alike will have to exercise considerable restraint to avoid sneaking a peek at the surprise ending!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Beauty/ Horrah for Karamazov!, March 19 2002
By 
j o e (Galt, CA United States) - See all my reviews
The reason we keep on living is to experience beauty. The Brothers Karamazov is perhaps the most beautiful novel I have ever read. Ok, no perhaps about it. This book transcends any and all borders of literature; it penetrates the deepest regions of your soul. When you read Koyla's final exclamation, "Horrah for Karamazov!" it suddenly all comes together in the most beautiful and emotional climax one can imagine. The Karamazov's represent mankind in its various aspects (its indulgence, its skepticism, and in Alyosha, the tiny spark of faith and love that can be found at its heart). "Horrah for Karamazov!" means "Horrah for mankind!" Through that small spark of love and hope from the humble Alyoshas of the world, all that's shallow and evil in our nature can be redeemed for and forgotten; mankind can be something to rejoice over. Horrah for Karamazov!
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5.0 out of 5 stars What lurks within the hearts of men, Nov. 26 2001
By 
If Charles Dickens's novels are a romanticization of Victorian England, then Dostoevsky's must be a realization of 19th Century Russia. "The Brothers Karamazov" not only sheds light on Czarist Russian life, society, and religion, but also succeeds in completely captivating the reader with its vivid characterization and dynamic plotting. Like Dostoevsky's other novels, it is a study in man's motivations for good and evil, his potential for corruption, and his glory in salvation. Each character, scene, and event in the novel seems to relay a principle that religion provides the structure for society, for better or worse.
The novel chronicles the fragmented Karamazov family, who live in a small Russian town. The father, Fyodor, is a hedonistic, boorish landowner, twice a widower, who has his eye on a young lady named Grushenka. He has four sons: The oldest is Dmitri, an ex-military officer, a passionate, desperate, violent young man who is like his father in many ways; for one thing, he also is madly in love with Grushenka. There is Dmitri's half-brother Ivan, intellectual and studious, but morbid and cynical, and whose motto is "everything is lawful." There is Ivan's gentle, magnanimous brother Alyosha who is an initiate monk and whom Ivan likes to provoke with his iconoclastic discourse. Finally, there is the illegitimate Smerdyakov, a morose and cruel young man who works as Fyodor's cook. None of the brothers has a particularly loving relationship with their father or with each other.
Each brother has a personal devil and an angel. Dmitri's devil is Grushenka; his angel is a young lady named Katerina to whom he is engaged, both connubially and financially. Alyosha's devil is a divinity student named Rakitin, who exploits the misfortunes of the Karamazovs; his angel is his mentor, Father Zossima, who represents religious solace. Ivan's angel is his brother Alyosha; his devil is his own conscience, with whom he converses in one unforgettable chapter. Smerdyakov's devil and angel are the same person: his father, the only person who has ever entrusted him. It is interesting to observe how each brother's devil and angel influence his actions and thoughts and provide conflict throughout the novel.
One night, Fyodor is murdered, and Dmitri, who has the most urgent motive, is accused of the crime. This could be considered the central event of the novel, but it is not the event on which the novel's profundity rests. What is profound is the series of psychological mind games that the brothers play with each other both before and after the murder; they could be any trashy family on a modern TV talk show, but they have Shakespearean complexity and depth in the way they express their anguish and weave their webs of deceit.
The novel ends with a seemingly positive notion about death and the joy in the remnants of life; in the very last scene, the stirring speech that Alyosha delivers after a young friend's funeral could have been Dostoevsky's own requiem. This is a staunchly uncompromising novel, refusing to provide any easy answers and forcing the reader to look inside his own heart for the source of good and evil.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Laborious yet insightful reading, Nov. 4 2001
By 
"inspectorhoorah" (philadelphia, PA USA) - See all my reviews
Brothers Karamazov is very complex, in relation to the characters and their interactions. To me the characters were not described very well and the dialogue seemed forced, at times incoherent(why is everyone having convulsions?)It seems Dostoyevsky did not have any strength left to make the dialogue interesting. People would lapse into fits for no reason and hallucinate constantly, it made you just want to get to the more philosophical sections. The personal interactions were mainly confusing and frustrating, many times I wanted to throw the book in the garbage. 75% of this book consisted of the characters going back and forth to each others houses talking about god knows what(you lose interest and lose track of who's who eventually and they all sound the same). This book was a definite chore-read, I did not suspect this having read "crime and punishment" beforehand, a book I was very impressed with. The only part I did enjoy were Dostoyevsky's questions about morality, which are always satisfying and informative. It is possible that Dostoyevsky's illness in later life reflects the poor effort of this book. I think that because it was his last, people assume that it was his greatest. I wouldnt waste your time, maybe read the cliff's notes. (...)
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The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Hardcover - Jan. 23 1996)
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