Brothers Karamazov

22 December 2010 § Leave a comment

I’ve just finished reading The Brothers Karamazov – it’s taken exactly a month, which I think is a record-breaking speed for me. I’m struck again by what a cracking good story Dostoevsky can tell – if you strip out all the clever theology, it’s a real pot-boiler, with dramatic twists all over the place to keep you turning the pages right up to the end.

I’m conscious that when I wrote my little essay on Crime and Punishment to kick this off, I gave away a lot of the story, and at some point I’ll have to correct that. I think I was sliding back to the mindset of university essay-writing where, of course, your reader has read the book. I have some jottings already on the Karamazovs, but will be more careful not to give away all the delicious surprises of the plot. I wouldn’t like to inflict on anyone what happened to me when I first read Anna Karenina – halfway through it, I had a query and thought I’d read the introduction – which promptly gave away the plot in its opening paragraph.

I’ve been trying to remember when I have previously read it, and haven’t had much luck. My copy is inscribed with my name and Durham college, so I obviously bought it as an undergraduate, but I’m sure I never read it then. My memory of reading it is that I was particularly struck by the trial, and the reaction and interest it provokes in the town, and across Russia, and I compared it at the time with the intense interest and public speculation that surrounded the trial of Louise Woodward, the British nanny accused of shaking a baby to death in America. If so, that would put it at around 1997, so I either read it in London or in Moscow. Funny how I can’t remember. There’s also a postcard tucked inside it as a bookmark which was sent to me by my mother and the message on the back appears to date it from the time I lived in Chile, so I must have read it again there.

PS: I have to add this link too http://onion.com/hOy9qY – very very funny.

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