Book Review: The Brothers Karamazov


Brothers

The novel has everything that Fyodor ever had to offer the world. Apart from characterizing the eternal pathos that he is world-renowned for, the various psychological and spiritual insights that Fyodor offers through his troubled characters make the novel a worth-read, writes William Carey.


If you don’t have a taste for novels, that too, for novels that are more around human relations, this recommendation is not for you. Pls don’t waste your time by reading even this write up any further. 

Instead, if your heart skips a beat at the mentioning of name of any of those vintage novel writers, if you are one of those that take delight in looking into the depths of those insights that better your understanding of the relationship that you have with yourself.

 If you prefer the distress of enduring those psychological roller-coasters that those writers take you through with the intention of making you a better human being, if you are a Christian and like the idea of keep getting baffled by how much the Christian thought has influenced the bygone generations, read on. 

‘The Brothers Karamazov’ is the best work of one of the best writers of the idealistic and confused 19th century. Arguably, Fyodor has been the best fiction writer of 19th century, considering the conditions in which he wrote, as compared with other equally famous writers of his times. While they wrote to make a name, he wrote to make a living. All the characters in his novels are a reflection of what predicament he endured. In spite of the gloom and despair that fills the plot, one cant but appreciate the glory and triumph of a persevering human spirit. 

The novel has everything that Fyodor ever had to offer the world. Apart from characterizing the eternal pathos that he is world-renowned for, the various psychological and spiritual insights that Fyodor offers through his troubled characters make the novel a worth-read. 

Unlike many of the novel writers, Fyodor did not need a love story to push the sale of his novels. This novel is the story of a rich father and his three sons. The novel portrays what effects of parental neglect can do to young children. It also portrays the moral depravity of mankind as a whole. It shows man not as a hero, but as someone who is lost and torments himself fervently in pursuit of his real self and his creator. 

There are reasons how this novel is relevant to today’s Christians. If one becomes a victim of following orthodoxy, without understanding why he is following what he is following, the confusions that such a mental slavery could create would be many. The person thinks he follows a convention that is accepted by the majority, but cannot explain why that convention should be against the simple and truthful beauty he so ardently chases. ‘Beauty is mysterious as well as terrible. God and the devil are fighting there and the battlefield is the heart of man’, is a quote from the book.

 Tolstoy was often described to be the cure that God has given to mankind to a malady called Fyodor. Such disturbances could also be read about in Tolstoy’s works like ‘Anna Karenina’ and ‘War and Peace’, though. Both these men were sincere chasers of Christian truth. But the ‘Christianity’ they knew did not allow them certain seemingly simple and harmless pleasures, which bewildered them. This could be seen in almost all their characters. They sketch the picture of a confused man. A man lost to himself in pursuit of truth in religion and conventionality. A man that does not, in reality, know the answers that he pretends to know. The man that has the answers for the whole outer world, but not for himself.

 A Christian will understand what questions our previous generation has faced, in trying to break the chains that the conventional ‘Christian’ society has set around them, that held them from getting to the truth. We will check if we currently are going through similar questions, if our definitions for the religion we follow, are logically consistent. If our ethics are confusing and contradicting, those confusions would naturally be superimposing themselves onto our relationships. These relationships need not be only with people, they could be the way we relate to anything in life. 

We will also understand and appreciate the tremendous theological clarity that has crept into this century, when compared to previous centuries. Men that were much smarter than us, grappled with issues that we no longer need to wrestle with, thanks to God. We will learn how much we should be thankful to God for granting us the opportunity to live in these times.

 

 

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One Response

  1. Good reviews William Carey. Keep writing. JT

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