The Brothers Karamazov
The Brothers Karamazov (Russian: Братья Карамазовы, Brat'ya Karamazovy), pronounced [ˈbratʲjə kərɐˈmazəvɨ]) is the final novel by the Russian author Fyodor Dostoyevsky. Dostoyevsky spent nearly two years writing The Brothers Karamazov, which was published as a serial in The Russian Messenger and completed in November 1880. Dostoyevsky intended it to be the first part in an epic story titled The Life of a Great Sinner, but he died less than four months after its publication.
The Brothers Karamazov is a passionate philosophical novel set in 19th century Russia, that enters deeply into the ethical debates of God, free will, and morality. It is a spiritual drama of moral struggles concerning faith, doubt, and reason, set against a modernizing Russia. Dostoyevsky composed much of the novel in Staraya Russa, which inspired the main setting. Since its publication, it has been acclaimed all over the world by intellectuals as one of the supreme achievements in literature.
The depth, complexity, and length of what many consider to be Dostoyevski's best work make it one of the hardest classic novels to bring to audio. The philosophical novel/murder mystery set in 19th-century Russia requires a strong and versatile narrator to keep listeners going for the day-and-a-half-plus duration. Thankfully, narrator Constantine Gregory masters the challenge. In doing so, he manages the omniscient third-person narration by using a pleasant mellifluous tone that invites the listener to relax and approach the text patiently and carefully. The novel also features first-person voices from the large cast of characters, such as Father Zosima, who, naturally enough, argues for the existence of a higher power and Gregory is able to imbue those sections with enough individuality to make them as distinct as the author intended.