Happy Friday, readers! It’s time for some more dense Russian literature! Last week we presented War and Peace so now I’d like to move on to some Dostoyevsky. Ya ready? (The Russian for yes is “da”)
If you aren’t familiar, settle in. The Brothers Karamazov is a philosophical novel set in 19th century Russia. It explores ethics, God, free will, and morals. The plot revolves around patricide and paints a vivid and incredibly detailed portrait of man’s struggle with doubt, faith, reason, and forgiveness. Composed of 12 books and an epilogue it is an epic, wide-spanning story set against a backdrop of a Russia that is rapidly modernizing.
The three brothers for whom the book is named are each very different and each experience spiritual and emotional struggles revolving around the centerpiece of their father’s death. There are lots of side stories and rationalist ideologies and nihilist things… Quite frankly, it’s a lot. There’s a lot. Trying to provide a concise overview without writing a novel myself is kind of impossible.
But I can tell you that this Russian novel is not really as dense as it is thick. Wait, what. Anyway, it’s not really an intense read the way War & Peace or Anna Karenina are. It’s a lot quieter and introspective and examines humanity in action around a central event that draws people together.
Pair it with vodka. Drink a lot of it.