Fyodor Dostoevsky’s “The Brothers Karamazov”

A couple of years ago, my father handed me a very thick book called, The Brothers Karamazov, by Fyodor Dostoevsky. He told me that I must read it and that I would love it. I cringed inside, but smiled politely as I told him I would read it. I was not particularly interested in reading several hundred pages of a book by some Russian author I had never heard of before. As I begrudgingly forced myself to read the book (for my father’s sake, knowing he would quiz me on it later) I was shocked to find myself actually enjoying the experience.

Ever since finishing the book, I now claim it as one of my favorite books in the world! What seems at first to be a murder mystery book turns into the most philosophical, intellectual story I have ever read. Dostoevsky takes the three main characters, who are brothers, gives them each a different philosophy about life and how to live it, and takes the whole book to another level as each one tries to find out answers to life’s hardest questions. This book is so good it’s almost discouraging! The whole time I was reading it, I could not get out of my mind the fact that I should just give up writing forever because I could never come up with something this genius and brilliant.

The Brothers Karamazov has some of the most profound statements you will ever read!  I would like to share a quote from this book with all of you. Dostoevsky wrote, ““Above all, don’t lie to yourself. The man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point that he cannot distinguish the truth within him, or around him, and so loses all respect for himself and for others. And having no respect he ceases to love.” This book abounds with many more statements such as this one that are great to heed.

One of the wonderful things about Dostoevsky’s writing in this novel is that, even though he is a Christian, he makes sure to write out each character so fully that even the atheist characters are given a chance to speak about what they believe. He shows no partiality but lets the characters be who they want, without allowing his own ideas to get in the way. They are given a chance to defend themselves and their views. Many times (even though I’m a believer in Jesus Christ), I thought to myself, “Wow, the atheist makes a great point.”

It is this ability by Dostoevsky to create each character so fully and then study the beliefs of each character to the point of defending each one’s view so masterfully that makes this book a truly masterpiece work.

Even if you are not a Christian, you can come to appreciate this book like so many others have. It is filled with topics that you can debate upon with your friends for days. I had some pretty intense discussions with my father after reading this book for the first time. So  many truths are exposed throughout this book and many lessons are to be learned.

I know not everyone will enjoy this story because you can get lost in it with its extreme depth, but it is well worth a try. It’s definitely a learning experience and a journey where many questions about life are answered. Despite how long the book is, I am already planning on reading it through again. That’s a testament to how superb it is!

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