Synopsis When brutal landowner Fyodor Karamazov is murdered, the lives of his sons are changed irrevocably: Mitya, the sensualist, whose bitter rivalry with his father immediately places him under suspicion for parricide; Ivan, the intellectual, whose mental tortures drive him to breakdown; the spiritual Alyosha, who tries to heal the family’s rifts; and the shadowy figure of their bastard half-brother Smerdyakov. As the ensuing investigation and trial reveal the true identity of the murderer, Dostoyevsky’s dark masterpiece evokes a world where the lines between innocence and corruption, good and evil, blur and everyone’s faith in humanity is tested.
Bookclub Review Based in late-Czarist Russia, this is a drama of family intrigue involving a brutal father and his (mostly) upwardly mobile sons that ends in murder. It is full of strongly developed characters and the social situations they occupy. And it is at its best in the clashing personalities of brothers – the sensual & volatile, the intellectual & tortured, the spiritual & sensitive, and the shadowy & sinister respectively. There are some big fans of this in the Book Club – take your time, it is a novel well worth getting into.