Back to the Classics 2017, Book reviews, The Classics Club

Los hermanos Karamazov


Los hermanos Karamazov, Dostoevsky,

★★★★ Not to miss, worth re-reading

From Wikisource, The Brothers Karamazov is the last novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky, generally considered the culmination of his life’s work. Dostoevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger from Janurary 1879 to November 1880 (separate edition 1880). Dostoevsky intended it to be the first part in an epic story titled The Life of a Great Sinner, but he died fewer than four months after publication.

I have no idea how I am supposed to review this book, so I won’t. I’ll just leave a few impressions of it I’ve had.

  1. It was much much more engrossing and easy to read that I had anticipated.
  2. The atmosphere of the book is pure Dostoevsky, very very dense. There’s no small talk or any breathers.
  3. It reads like a detective novel. Even with a few departures, one feels compelled to read and know. It makes your heart pound.
  4. There’s a lot of epilepsy, mental illness, unstable characters, poverty, evil. And a lot of the opposite, love, courage, sound thinking, generosity, righteousness.
  5. Love relationships between men and women in this book are very turbulent, they fall into the love/hate, U2 With or Without You category.
  6. Dostoevsky was a fine observer and critic of his beloved Russia.
  7. I couldn’t believe that Voltaire and Candide are mentioned in this book!, and Tolstoy, Schiller, Shakespeare!
  8. Dostoevsky adds some stories within his story, which I enjoyed. He seems to write from within. There’s a lot of monologues and conversations, and succinct descriptions of the surroundings.
  9. Many may be (like I was), intimidated by the length and renown of this title, but, having read Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, and The Gambler (one of his short stories), this was by far the easiest to read, and so far, my favorite.
  10. I’M A FAN!

12 thoughts on “Los hermanos Karamazov”

  1. This seems like a perfect way to summarize your sentiments about the book! And without spoilers 🙂 brilliant Silvia! I’m on my way still and am not giving up. It’s too good of a story to give up on!

    Liked by 2 people

  2. You’ve almost persuaded me! I shall squeeze it onto my list one of these days. It’s hard reviewing these huge classics, but your list got across your feelings about it perfectly. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

    1. I’m glad you got the feeling that this title is super doable, and highly rewarding. Read it when you feel it’s the time. (I’ve had it at the back of my mind for 3 years, maybe longer, but only this year, encouraged by many friends around me who took the plunge, did I take it too and read it.
      As for my review, (which is more just my feelings), I think we all know about the plot much, and yet I did not want to spoil it. What matters is, in my opinion, how he narrates this story, with so much passion and layers.

      Liked by 1 person

  3. I loved this book! I read it far too young & must revisit it again. I am such a fan of Dostoevsky; Tolstoy, no, but Dostoevsky! Ah, one feels like one has plummeted into the depths of a man’s soul & been purged. And yes, I find him very readable.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I love your words here,
      Ah, one feels like one has plummeted into the depths of a man’s soul & been purged.
      I liked Tolstoy’s Anna Karenina, but one day I want to try his War and Peace! As for the question of Tolstoy, Dostoevsky, or both?, I’m leaning more on Dostoevsky. But in truth, I just find them different. T is more complete, D is jagged. T is more inclusive and extensive, D is more obsessive, a scab scratching person, so to speak. T’s characters are differentiated, D’s characters are variations on a theme, more prototypical. T’s universe is more breathable, D’s universe is a smoke filled stuffy room. T’s stories have ramifications tightly knit, D’s stories take abrupt departures (even if he brings them back together somehow). T is more cerebral, D is more guts.


  4. I didn’t realize D intended succeeding books in the story, but that makes perfect sense, what with the loose ends at the end of this one. Usually, I don’t like loose ends, but there is so much to like in this novel…I am, as you say, a fan. I especially love The Grand Inquisitor vignette.


    1. You know what Carol?, you may be right. I think it is that I read Crime and Punishment in my twenties, and BK now in my mid forties, and I remember C&P was dense, but BK too, ha ha ha, so it may be that C&P is the best entry long novel for this author.
      BK is not that intimidating.


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