What’s That Book? The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Hi Everyone! Today I’d like to welcome Darlene Foster, today’s contributor to What’s That Book. Thank you, Darlene!

I’d like to welcome Kathleen Le Dain as a contributor to What’s That Book.

TitleThe Brothers Karamazov

Author:  Fyodor Dostoevsky

Genre: Classic/Literature

Rating: 5 out of 5.

What’s it about? I have wanted to read this novel for years but found it intimidating. I recently joined a read-along where we read one chapter a day of this amazing book. That was one chapter a day for 96 days! I am so glad I did as it was the best way to savour this incredible story. It is essentially a story of three, possibly four, very different brothers from a dysfunctional family, and how their actions affect each other and the people around them. One brother is a ladies’ man and a spendthrift, another an intellectual and the youngest, kind and religious.

The story covers everything, love, hate, family, religion, history, philosophy, mystery and much more. Every chapter makes you think, some make you laugh and others make you sad. The themes are timeless and as relevant today as they were in 19th century Russia.

As in many Russian stories, there are numerous characters with more than one name. But it doesn’t take long to sort them out and they all play an important part. There are many stories within the story, told by an unnamed narrator who lives in the village the Karamazov family live in and where most of the action takes place. The characters are well developed and the stories cleverly knit together. I was surprised at the humour scattered throughout the book.

At the end, the youngest brother tells a group of school boys, “You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home.” This is a book worth reading more than once. 

How did you hear about it? I heard about the Karamazov read-along through Rebecca Budd of Tea, Toast and Trivia. I realized that this was probably the only way I would ever read this book.

Closing comments: It is good for your soul to read a classic from time to time.  A great idea is to read a classic along with one or more readers for encouragement and discussion. Everyone should read The Brothers Karamazov at least once.

Contributor: Darlene Foster, a long time dreamer of dreams and teller of tales, is the author of the exciting Amanda Travels series featuring spunky Amanda Ross, a Canadian girl who loves to travel. All ages enjoy following Amanda as she unravels one mystery after another in unique destinations. Darlene, an avid traveler herself, divides her time between Canada’s west coast and the Spanish Costa Blanca with her husband and entertaining rescue dogs, Dot and Lia. 


Have you read something good?  Want to talk about it? Consider being a contributor to What’s That Book.

Email Book Club Mom at bvitelli2009@gmail.com for information.

65 thoughts on “What’s That Book? The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky

      1. I re-read Pride and Prejudice a couple of years back and saw once more why it stands up so well. I don’t get much leisure time to read for enjoyment, but that’s something I’m looking forward to.

    1. Yes, Jill. I have read more classics this past almost two years than I had for a while. I think we find comfort in stories about times past and books filled with meaningful words.

  1. I’m sure I read this book either in college or graduate school. Thanks, Darlene, for the summary, which I certainly needed. When I read this book long ago, I didn’t notice this: “You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home.” Maybe I can use this quote somewhere in my writing.

    Thanks, Barbara, for hosting Darlene’s book choice today. 😀

    1. Thanks, Marian. There are so many great quotes in this book. This one would be good in one of your books. Here’s another one I think you will love, “It was an old and rather poor church,…but such churches are the best for praying in.”

  2. Thanks, Darlene, for reminding me of the looooong read that is this book. I did like it and went on to read others by Dostoevsky, when I was in my Russian literature phase. A classic!

  3. I love Dostoevsky, and this book. Russian authors base their stories as much on the intricacies and love of Mother Russia as plot. Glad you liked this book.

  4. I saw Rebecca’s post about this book too, Barb, and had the same comment as you – intimidating! Lol. I’m so glad you enjoyed it. I’ve been thinking about trying one of the classics (Anna Karenina, maybe, because I actually own the book!). Thanks for the encouragement!

    1. I am so glad I took up the challenge and persevered. Anna Karenina is one of my favourite Russian novels. I also own the book. Enjoy.

    1. I believe you were reading another challenging read at the time. One I don´t think I will ever read. But I have enjoyed reading your reports on it. There is only so much reading time.

    1. Thanks, Donna. Reading a book like this along with others keeps you motivated. It´s a good idea to start a read along with a group of readers to tackle a large novel. We may do War and Peace next.

  5. Wow, how impressive! I do love reading classics, but I’ve always found the idea of Russian classics very intimidating (although I have read Anna Karenina). A chapter a day is a great approach! (that’s about how I got through Moby Dick, in fact…)

    1. They can be intimidating but are so worth it once you do read them. I remember reading Anna Karenina and being so enthralled. Moby Dick is another book I haven´t tackled. So many classics, so little time!

  6. Reblogged this on Darlene Foster's Blog and commented:
    I have read some amazing books this year. But the most incredible reading experience I’ve had has been joining a read-along which enabled me to complete The Brothers Karamazov. The Book Club Mom has shared my review.

  7. You’ve convinced me! i like Dostoevsky and read his books (but not this one) easily back in college. But now, I’m not sure I could handle it “on my own.” I read so many contemporary books that are written so differently than back in this Russian’s time. I like the idea of listening to it. I’m going to put it on my Audibles list!

    1. Hi Pam, thank you for reading and so sorry for the late comment. I remember reading War and Peace in college (in a class, though) and not being fazed by it but being glad to have my professor explain it. Russian literature can be confusing. I think I will give The Brothers a try. Sometime in 2022?

  8. I love that quote: “You must know that there is nothing higher and stronger and more wholesome and good for life in the future than some good memory, especially a memory of childhood, of home.”

    Thanks for sharing your experience with this book. I’ve never heard of it before.

  9. Darlene, intimidating is the word for this book and I’m in awe of you all who finished it. Your review is glowing with feeling for the book, story and characters and you make it seem approachable, relevant and it’s great to learn there is so much humour in the book! I agree that reading it with others, a chapter at a time is probably the main way to finish it – thank you for your clear and excellent review here!

    1. Thank you, Annika. It is the best way to read these large tomes. There are so many characters but they soon become endearing in various ways.

      1. That’s good to know, Darlene. Russian names are hard to get straight because of the spelling differences between genders. I remember that when I read The Idiot.

    2. Hi Annika, thank you for stopping by to read Darlene’s review. I think reading it with others and at a slower pace is a great idea. Hope you are doing well! 🙂

  10. What a wonderful way to read an “intimidating” book – join a club to do “read-along” one chapter at a time. I enjoyed reading your insight, Darlene. Thank you for sharing Darlen’s review, Barb.

    1. Even if it is just one other person reading the book at the same time as you. It helps to discuss it and encourage each other. Glad you enjoyed the review.

      1. I agree, Darlene. It’s a fun way to read. I used to belong to a book club which meets once a month. They have been meeting rain or shine for more than 35 years. They are still meeting. The coordinator has the list of books they’ve read. It’s awesome.

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