The Brothers Karamazov?

Here’s the book I decided to bring with me on my holiday travels. The idea was to read it on the 19.5-hour train trip, but I hadn’t finished Howards End in time, so I had to bring that with me too.

At any rate: Damn is this a long book! NaNoWriMo was decidedly easier to do each day than go back to this book to slog through it. Middlemarch? Blissfulness. Bleak House? A delight! Dostoevsky’s characters’ paragraphs of dialogue? I can’t bear them.

What this post is all about: please, those of you who’ve read the book, provide me in the comments with any pep talk you may have. I’m about halfway through book two (part two?), and I’ve got Lipsyte’s undoubtedly incredible The Ask waiting for me on my new Kindle. I want to get through Brothers K before hitting the Lipsyte the way I want, say, to add more fiber to my diet. But then part of me is all: screw fiber, eat something delicious.

I guess what I need is to be shown what’s delicious about Dostoevsky. I need to get Laura Bush on the horn….

Update: The above is a stupid post, stupidly written. In looking for aid I found a collection of introductions to the novel. Specifically this:

Meanwhile his father, miserly, greedy, and corrupt, refused Fyodor an allowance, and his last letter to him was a denial of a small sum begged by Fyodor to buy a little sugar and tea to take on summer maneuvers. Shortly after, the father was murdered by his own serfs. The police authorities made little attempt to find and prosecute the actual murderer. “We cannot arrest a whole village,” they said, “and the whole village is guilty.” It was a communal crime, and even those not actually involved in it sympathized with the murderers. Among these was Fyodor himself, who, however, had his first epileptic fit on learning of his father’s death. In all his novels, Dostoevsky emphasizes the collective nature of all crime. And all his books are about crime: “The guilt of every individual is binding upon us all, just as his salvation saves us all. Crime is the center of Dostoevsky’s tragic world,” wrote Romano Guardini.

I don’t know what I was thinking. As if books need defenses. Well no, I know what I was thinking, it’s just cuter to say that I don’t. Here’s what I was thinking: Dostoevsky’s book is an end, a box to check. Here’s what I should have realized: a novel is a world to spend time in, written by a person with a history.