15 Important Novels in my Life: A Countdown Oct 21, 2013 10:43:04 GMT -5
Post by Mighty Jack on Oct 21, 2013 10:43:04 GMT -5
1. The Brothers Karamazov by Fyodor Dostoevsky
“The awful thing is that beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man.”
And I wonder at what moment during The Brothers Karamazov did I come to understand that I was reading my favorite novel of all time? I know it surprised me because I was afraid of the book. Intimidated by it’s reputation. I imagined I was about to enter a stogy, academic tome that would stand so far above me that I would wrestle with its meaning and be defeated by it.
Instead, I remember becoming quickly immersed in the story and discovering that Karamozov was surprisingly accessible: A work of profound genius, elevated, but not out of reach. It was infinitely human and relatable. And like nothing I had ever experienced in a book before. Karamozov was my brainy “Please, Please Me”, Dostoevsky my literary John, Paul, George and Ringo.
The story is framed by a murder mystery, but is so much more than that. It’s about the journey of 3 bothers, each finding themselves put to the test: If one brother’s faith rests in God, that faith will be challenged. If another brother trusts in intellect, he will have that intellect taken from him.
Karamazov blew the doors out – I was jaw dropping awestruck by the power and epic scale of the novel but also moved by its intimacy and wisdom. The questions of faith, doubt and reason are all addressed. The younger son, religious Alyosha, is the hub through which all things are filtered. But each character was brought to life so vividly. And in regards to brother Ivan, I don't know that anyone writes about mental instability with as much clarity and understanding as Fyodor. I felt like I had been thrust into a fevered nightmare with that guy.
It's the best thing I've ever read, a towering, timeless literary achievement.