The Brothers Karamazov // Fyodor Dostoevsky.

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Alexei (Alyosha) Karamazov, the most unlikely hero of this story (the very words from the narrator himself!), is part of a very unorthodox family. The four men of the family–Fyodor the father, Dmitri the eldest, Ivan the middle, and Alexei the youngest–are entangled in complicated strands of love, honor and reputation, deep resentments, and wealth and debts. Yet, the unlikely hero, quiet as mouse, blazes brilliantly besides his boisterous family members, shining in dark places and moments. The four part, 777 paged story ends with Alyosha exhorting his fellow gentlemen–children of ages 12-14–to be good, humble, and kind, and to remember their fallen comrade who has supremely exemplified such virtues. Perhaps, we, too, should be as children and listen to Alyosha.

The Brothers Karamazov is one of the greatest Russian literary works of all history; Dostoevsky is a master storyteller. Yet, nuances and subtle brilliances might get lost in translation, but Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky’s is both witty and satirical that glimpse at Dostoevsky’s dark humor. This particular translation is highly recommend (note: I have not read other translations).

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