The Brothers Karamazov

“For we must love not only occasionally, for a moment, but forever. Everyone can love occasionally, even the wicked can.”

Father Zossima, The Brothers Karamazov

When I was fifteen, my mother gave me this book for Christmas, but two months later, after she had read it, she told me I was not allowed to read my Christmas present for a few more years. I was actually relieved, since I kept feeling like I should read it, but the book was large, in fine print, and had no pictures. I did not end up reading the book until my senior year of college, seven years later, when it immediately became one of my favorite books of all time!

An intricate, multi-faceted read, this is a 5 on the 5-star Reading System

The final published work of Fyodor Dostoyevsky, published in 1880 in Czarist Russia, The Brothers Karamazov is the narrative of a young monk, Alyosha Karamazov. Alyosha is drawn out of the monastery when his family becomes embroiled in a murder mystery, and he returns home to try to bring peace to his brothers. When encountering the turmoil of his brother’s hearts, Alyosha grapples with the nature of sin, questioning whether saints are actually the worst sinners of the world, and whether every individual of humanity, himself included, is responsible for every sin of the world. Dostoyevsky’s peak accomplishment, The Brothers Karamzov is a brilliantly, beautifully crafted narrative of redemption, forgiveness, the consequences of choice, and the nature of generational sin.

If you like books that question the very depths of who we are as human beings, that examine religion, morality, spirituality, and the sins of the flesh, read it now!

Get The Brothers Karamazov (My affiliated links policy)

Best Librivox recording (I don’t like any of the versions currently completed and open to the public. There is a third version in progress now that I really like, and you can go here to check out the reader’s progress); Project Gutenberg

Also, there is a very good chance you can find this book at any lovely, reused bookstore.

Author Biography

Born Nov. 11, 1821 in Moscow, Russia, Fyodor Dostoyevsky was educated at home until 1833. He studied to be a military engineer, but shortly after graduating decided to become a writer. He experienced traumatic events, including a mock execution and exile. His work explored the human condition and is credited with shaping existentialism. Crime and Punishment is one of his most well-known novels.

Read full Biography at

Child Appropriateness:

As I said, it was inappropriate for me at age 15, because the main theme of the book revolves around a prostitute seducing a man and his son at the same time. Also, there are philosophical themes that challenge the mercy of God that are not questions a young, developing mind is in a state to grapple with. At age 17 or older, I could have handled the content, however, the book is so complex and difficult to read, that I would not recommend giving it to an upper classmen high schooler unless they really want to read it. But if they really do, then by all means, I say go for it!

4 thoughts on “The Brothers Karamazov”

  1. I’m not the poster above but I found your blog by following a Pinterest link to the picture of Grushenka. It’s one of the first images I see when I search “Grushenka” in Google.

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