Thursday, March 06, 2014

Book Report: The Brothers Karamazov

The Brothers KaramazovThe Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Crime and Punishment is one of my favorite books, and the only one of Dostoyevsky's that I'd read before this. Karamazov is beautifully and elegantly written but its story is disjointed and aimless. It reminds me of an USA network drama that runs its course after five years and has no place to go. The shift to a tragic courtroom parody toward the end is the strongest section, but it seems like a side story or sequel rather than something that's part of a ohesive whole.

The author establishes tragic, troubled characters then can't much figure out what to do with them other than using them as mouthpieces to wax philosophically. The monologues are brilliant, but largely unchallenged by conversation partners and left to stand alone as awkwardly placed essays.

The ending tries hard to be beautiful and touching, but is forced and 1950s Disney live action movie-level stupid. The last words are forehead-slappingly ridiculous.

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