The Brothers Karamazov

Version: Unabridged
Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky
Narrator: Frederick Davidson
Genres: Fiction & Literature, Classics
Publisher: Blackstone Audiobooks
Published In: May 2008
# of Units: 28 CDs
Length: 28 hours, 40 minutes
Ratings:
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Overview

After spending four years in a Siberian penal settlement, during which time he underwent a religious conversion, Dostoevsky developed a keen ability for deep character analysis. In The Brothers Karamazov, he explores human nature at its most loathsome and cruel but never flinches at what he finds.

The Brothers Karamazov tells the stirring tale of four brothers: the pleasure-seeking, impatient Dmitri; the brilliant and morose Ivan; the gentle, loving, and honest Alyosha; and the illegitimate Smerdyakov: shy, silent, and cruel. The four unite in the murder of one of literature's most despicable characters-their father. This was Dostoevsky's final and best work.

"[Dostoevsky is] at once the most literary and compulsively readable of novelists we continue to regard as great....The Brothers Karamazov stands as the culmination of his art-his last, longest, richest, and most capacious book."-Washington Post Book World

Reviews (6)

Superb

Written by Anonymous on August 1st, 2018

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This book is a treasure. Unexpectedly fuuny and keenly insightful on human character. I just returned it, and already miss listening to it. Some of the characters are recognizable even today in 2018. The lawyers today are no different from those in the book. And Fyodor Pavlovich is a dead ringer for our current president.

*REVIEW CONTAINS SPOILERS*

Written by James H. on May 20th, 2018

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Amazing book. I\'ve read it twice, but I can\'t stand the reader. Also, this recording skips two very important scenes with Grushenka. The first is when Alyosha meets Grushenka for the first time at Katerina Ivanovna\'s. That episode is important because Grushenka insults Katerina by allowing her hands to be kissed and not returning the compliment. The narrative refers back to that insult on many occasions. The second scene is when Rakitin takes Alyosha to Grushenka a second time after father Zosima\'s body began to decay prematurely and Alyosha\'s world is turned upside-down. In this part Grushenka sits on Alyosha\'s lap and tries to seduce him, but the innocence and purity of Alyosha\'s character overwhelms her.

Written by Mia y on May 10th, 2017

  • Book Rating: 5/5

Love the story, cannot bring myself to finish listening though; the reader is unbearable!

Worth it

Written by Julie Greene on April 21st, 2006

  • Book Rating: 4/5

As one would expect with Dostoyevsky, the book includes a kitchen sink's worth of cynicism, wisdom, character development, and wit. There is always the buffoon Dostoyevsky character who puts his foot in his mouth at every opportunity, especially while drunk. Fyodor Karamazov, the dad, is a fool that keeps us laughing, as are some other characters, though to a lesser degree. I totally enjoyed this selection.

The Brothers Karamazov

Written by Paul from South Deerfield, MA on November 21st, 2005

  • Book Rating: 5/5

This is a lengthy book, but one well worth the read. I appreciated Frederick Davidson as the reader and thought he kept a good pace and did a good job of distinguishing parts. The character development is the model for good writing. Although there is little "action" in the book, Dostoyesvsky retains the readers interest on the strength of his mixture of characters and surprising twists in the unfolding of their personality and nature. Alyosha summarizes the author's message, in my mind, with his statement in the final chapter: "Ah, children, ah, dear friends, do not be afraid of life! How good life is when you do something good and just!"

ouch

Written by Scott Turner on August 27th, 2005

  • Book Rating: 2/5

well the story is great but i struggled to get half way through because the reader is monotonous and sounds like he is not into it...i notice he also reads war and peace which was my next rental.....:(

Author Details

Author Details

Dostoevsky, Fyodor

"Life is in ourselves and not in the external," writes Fyodor Dostoevsky in a letter to his brother dated December 22, 1849. "To be a human being among human beings, and remain one forever, no matter what misfortunes befall, not to become depressed, and not to falter--this is what life is, herein lies its task." (The Brothers Karamazov, translated by Pevear and Volokhonsky, xii)

This passage was written immediately after Dostoevsky underwent the traumatic experience that Tsar Nicholas I ordered for several prisoners condemned to death for supporting the expression of free thought within the Russian state--a mock execution in Semyonovsky Square, a staged performance so terrifyingly real that it induced insanity within one of the author's fellow prisoners. (The Brothers Karamazov, translated by Garnett, x) The quote is evidence of Dostoevsky's strength of character; his would be a difficult life--living in bleak poverty, he would helplessly watch as many of the people closest to him died from the ailments of the poor. It also exposes the significant flaw common to some of his characters and tragic heroes--through despair, and weakness before the weight of misfortune, they falter, and commit barbaric acts that render them unfit to operate within the context of humanity. This is the case with both Baklushkin and Shishkov from The House of the Dead, as well as with Raskolnikov in Crime and Punishment.

The difficult facts of Dostoevsky's life, however, are likely the genesis of most, if not all of his work. Born on October 30, 1821 in Moscow, he lived much of his childhood distanced from his frail mother and officious father. (Hingley, 20) In these formative years, he formed a close bond with his elder brother Mikhail. They would spend many hours reading Pushkin by meager candlelight in their family's comfortable suburban home. When they were teenagers, however, both Fyodor and Mikhail were enrolled in separate boarding schools, Fyodor matriculating at an engineering school in St. Petersburg. It is possible that being confronted with the rigorous schedule of the engineering school (that served as a recruiting pool for the Russian bureaucracy) helped assure Dostoevsky that his destiny was the written word; even as he was studying the trade of government, he was honing his skills as a writer, inking drafts of what would become his first novel-Poor Folk. In 1846, it was published to warm critical response. Something of a literary figure at the age of twenty-five, Dostoevsky began attending the discussion group that would result in his imprisonment, and the eventual mock execution which would prompt him to write the aforementioned letter to his brother.

His sentence was commuted to four years in prison and four years of army service. His prison experiences, as well as his life after prison among the urban poor of Russia, would provide a vivid backdrop for much of his later work. Released from his imprisonment and service by 1858, he began a fourteen-year period of furious writing, in which he published many significant texts. Among these are: The House of the Dead (1862), Notes From The Underground (1864), Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1868), and Devils (1871).

During this period, Dostoevsky's life was in upheaval, as he lost both his first wife and his brother. On February 15, 1867, he married his stenographer Anna Grigorevna Snitkina who would manage his affairs until his death in 1881. Two months before he died, Dostoevsky completed the epilogue to The Brothers Karamazov (1880), which was published in serial form in the Russian Messenger. His funeral attracted thousands of citizens, as Russia mourned the death of a significant literary hero.