Part 1: The Brothers Karamazov

Ok, so not only did I finish part 1 of The Brothers K, but I am only a few days late.  I must say, I am feeling a bit proud of myself!

So, since this was the beginning of the book, I was introduced to all of the characters.  Now, I must admit, the Russian names throw me through a loop.  They are all so long and they also sound similar to me, so it took me awhile to get the who’s who.  I’ve got the main characters down though– you’ve got Alyosha, who is living in a monastery and is the only Karamazov with any scruples.  Then you have his two brothers, Dmitri and Ivan.  The whole crazy family is capped off by dad, Fyodor Pavlovich.  And when I say this family is crazy, I mean it.  Dad is the craziest cat of them all, which makes him my favorite character thus far.

So we’re introduced to the background of the family in book 1.  Fyodor has had two wives and, although he pretty much has everything he could want, he is a brutish, stubborn man who is constantly putting his family into chaotic, destructive situations.  Book 2 then begins with the three Karamazov brothers in their twenties.  The family goes to Alyosha’s monastery, which turns into a huge farce, with Fyodor making an ass of himself once again.  Book 3 brings us into a very interesting love triangle . . . although I suppose triangle wouldn’t be correct.  Dmitri is engaged to the beautiful Katerina Ivanovna, but he and his father are both in love with a slattern named Grushenka.  Meanwhile, Ivan sees Katerina being slighted by Dmitri, so he is trying to latch onto her.  Smitri is so crazed by his love for Grushenka that he is intent on killing his father.  He has also demanded that Alyosha go to Katerina and explain that he will no longer see her, thus ending their engagement.

I was nervous starting out that The Brothers K would not be an engaging read.  Boy was I wrong! For being classic literature, it is unbelievably readable.  The third book especially was entertaining because–let’s face–who doesn’t love to read about the degradation of a completely warped family?  It’s impossible not to feel sorry for Alyosha.  He knows his family is certifiable, but because they are family, he cannot walk away.  Instead, he is constantly finding himself stuck in the middle and doing everyone’s bidding.  He is by far the only normal one.

I especially loved the scene between Grushenka and Katerina.  I was flummoxed at first, not completely understanding Katerina’s motives, and thinking her a bit vapid for it.  And I loved how Grushenka just flipped everything on her.  I love a good cat fight!  The best part is, this was only the tip of the iceberg.  It is obvious that the Karamazov’s have only just gotten started.  I can’t wait for all the drama yet to come!

For those of you who want to join in on this read-a-long, there is still time!  Here is the reading schedule:

Book 1: 7/10-7/16
Book 2: 7/17-7/23
Book 3: 7/24-7/30
Post #1: around July 30/31
Book 4: 7/31-8/6
Book 5: 8/7-8/13
Book 6: 8/14-8/20
Post #2: around August 20/21
Book 7: 8/21-8/27
Book 8: 8/28-9/3
Book 9: 9/4-9/10
Post #3: around September 10/11
Book 10: 9/11-9/17
Book 11: 9/18-9/24
Book 12 plus the short Epilogue: 9/24-10/1
Post #4: around October 1/2
The End (you might want to consider a shot or two or three of vodka to celebrate)

The read-a-long is being hosted by Jill at Fizzy Thoughts.  Sign ups can be found here.

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4 Responses

  1. Sounds like you’re finding it more readable than the rest of us! The religious debates just about put me to sleep!

  2. I’m glad to see it’s readable – I have to admit I’m totally intimidated by it. I think in part because of the Russian names.

  3. I wish I had gotten in on this, but as I was reading Dostoevsky’s House of the Dead when I first saw it, I just didn’t think two Dostoevsky books back to back was such a brilliant idea.

  4. I’m a bit late in getting around to everyone’s posts for the Read-A-Long (I was on vacation when the first posts went up but did manage to preschedule mine).

    I wonder if we’re reading the same book!! I don’t know if I would exactly call it “readable.” : )

    I’m sticking with it … but those long long philosophical discussions are just killing me.

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