The Brothers Karamazov Part 2

So. Once again I am late. My New Year’s Resolution has become to make sure to get blogs posted on THURSDAY. For those of you that suffer any sort of confusion or angst because of my tardiness on my weeks, I apologize.

I said last week I would finish off The Brothers Karamazov this week. And while this is the last week that an entire blog post will be dedicated to it, unfortunately I will be unable to finish it off. Part of my lateness was because I was determined to attempt to complete it.

But, this is one complex novel! Not like Les Miserables (which sometimes made me miserable, English pronunciation) or Anna Karenina (which I have not blogged at this time as I read it approximately 2 years prior to beginning the blog and have not yet found it appealing to reread). I enjoyed Anna, but in some parts I had to just grasp the edges of the book and plow through, like one does tedious parts of a job.

Karamazov isn’t like that. It’s actually a compelling story. It’s a story that keeps you wondering “But, what next?”. However, there is a lot of depth to it. There’s philosophy, and more theology, and more political talk and basic personality talk. And unlike sections on Russian agriculture (Anna Karenina) and argot (Les Miserables), I can’t skim any of it. I tried. I really did try. Then I got lost and had to go back and re-read the prior ten pages.

But. I can tell you which authors listed Brothers in their Top Ten. Russell Banks, David Anthony Durham, Jonathan Franzen, Barry Hannah, Ha Jin, Norman Mailer, Erin McGraw, and David Means.

The story line has expanded to include more characters. There’s more backstories to more characters (and usually that bogs down a story but this is done phenomenally well).

However, I have two notes of criticism.

  1. While it doesn’t detract from the story, and while for the most part I like it, I do wish the topic of religion could be dropped. Even if just for 50 pages. The same with the “basic character of man” which sometimes is part of the religious talk and sometimes separate from the religious talk.
  2. Every so often, for a bit it seems as if a character is falling into an archetype or a stereotype or is wavering in depth. Usually though, after a few pages the character does something that pulls it out of that hole.

My next blog entry will have a follow up about the end of The Brothers Karamazov and at least one quotation (it’s really hard to pick the ones I wanted to use!! I have at least 20 marked in the book and I’m not even done. So I am going to try at the end to find the one or two that best sum up what I feel about the book). Then I will be discussing a new book. Which I will keep as a surprise! It’s suspenseful!

Have a great week! Hope you get all your Christmas tasks done and also that you have the spiritual Christmas that you should have (and while for me, that involves Christ’s birth, I know others that it means something else to.)

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