I finished Fyodor Dostoyevsky’s The Brothers Karamazov a few weeks ago. For me, the book came in the wake of Crime and Punishment, so I feel like I’ve had a solid dose of Russian prose. There is so much to say about the quality of Dostoyevsky’s writing, but the effects were so profoundly unsettling (yet joyous and tearful) that it will take weeks to unravel all the paths Dostoyevsky led me as an amateur traveler of literature.
Fresh in my memory are the Dickens-ish eccentric characters (though these are described with psychological depth); the sacred, humble, and happy faith of Father Zossima; and the tremulous rage that accompanies justice unrequited. Dostoyevsky masterfully taxes his readers with the portentous tensions of guilt and forgiveness, shame and confidence, suffering and peace, doubt and faith, and lust and purity. Nowhere have I have read such themes so wonderfully woven into narrative in a way that left me starving for resolution. I couldn’t help leaving each chapter with the feeling that Dostoyevsky was saying much more in every conversation, with each action. Dostoyevsky thought very deeply about these problems and it shows in his writing.
Reading The Brothers Karamazov re-awoke in me the craving for well written narrative. I want narrative that moves me, informs me, and forever changes the way I see the world. If one of you reads one of these novels next year, please let me know what you think! Again, after I have time to sort through my experience with these books, I hope to spend some time reflecting, in a bloggish sort of way, on the valuable role of literature in the life of a Christian.