29 July 2001

brothers karamazov

It's been a lot of work, but I've enjoyed it immensely: I'm almost finished reading Fyodor Dostoevsky's The Brothers Karamazov for a bookclub that meets tomorrow night.

Wow. And what a novel it is. Murder, sibling rivalry, intergenerational conflict, comedy, love, betrayal, faith, insanity, apostasy, you name it. It's all in there, woven into a whole that is simply overwhelming and defies easy description.

I had tried to read it once before, a number of years ago, and never made it very far. I'm certain now that the problem was, in large part, the translation. This time around I've been reading the translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky (North Point Press 1990) and cannot recommend it highly enough.

Daunting? Indeed. But if you have the time, give it shot.