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Publisher's Summary

The Brothers Karamazov is Dostoevsky's crowning life work and stands among the best novels in world literature.The book probes the possible roles of four brothers in the unresolved murder of their father, Fyodor Karamazov. At the same time, it carefully explores the personalities and inclinations of the brothers themselves. Their psyches together represent the full spectrum of human nature, the continuum of faith and doubt. Ultimately, this novel seeks to understand the real meaning of faith and existence and includes much beneficial philosophical and spiritual discussion that moves the reader towards faith. An incredibly enjoyable and edifying story!
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Tad Davis on 04-26-13

An expert abridgement

The Brothers Karamazov is a wonderful book, and deserves to be read by many more people than might be willing to tackle the whole thing. This audiobook comes to the rescue. It's a remarkable achievement. It manages to get in every character, every incident, every philosophical digression I remember from two previous readings of the whole thing. And it does it without rushing. The pacing is steady throughout.

Unlike the four or five hour versions typical of abridged audiobooks, this one appears to operate at the level of the word and phrase rather than the level of the incident or chapter: a little snip here, a small excision there; it all adds up to a version with about 56% of the original text intact. It's more a condensation than an abridgment. Yes, you're not getting the whole thing, but you're getting a solid and thoughtful selection, not a hack job. The Grand Inquisitor is still there in all his confounding glory.

And you're getting Simon Vance. As a narrator of 19th century novels, Vance is nearly without peer. (He's pretty good with contemporary books as well, it's just that I've listened to more of the other.) Maybe not a man of a thousand voices, but he's got a couple hundred at least, and many of them are on display here - none of them for show, all of them in the service of the novel.

Of course, if you can and want to, you should eventually tackle the whole thing. But give this one a shot in the meantime. Or give it a shot if, like me, you've read it before and just want a somewhat faster "review." Except it doesn't feel like a review when you're listening to it. It feels like Dostoevsky.

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35 of 35 people found this review helpful


By Gary on 09-19-09

No other narrator is greater for this one

The audiobook may be abridged, but at moments the narrator brought me almost to tears with how how he presented father Zosima. His voice is quite caring in the narrating throughout. He gets the female characters perfectly, especially Grushenka and you are able to distinguish one character from another, despite the numerous characters. I don't believe anyone should substitute reading this masterpiece by simply listening to the audiobook. However, to miss out on this narrator's telling of a beautiful story is to miss a performance of a lifetime. Believe me, I place no exaggeration on this at all.

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19 of 19 people found this review helpful

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

By Amazon Customer on 10-16-13

A classic, really?

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

No, the characters are all just so unpleasant and the story is nothing to get excited about. Half the time I found myself thinking "Who cares?" Add to that a boring delivery by the narrator means this is a book I wouldn't want to inflict on any friends.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

A damp squib. Like Dostoevsky just got fed up with writing and decided to end it there, and who can blame him?

Would you be willing to try another one of Simon Vance’s performances?

His characterizations were all the same and his delivery quite monotonous. The clearly well-to-do characters often had a north London twang to their accents, which was absolutely misplaced. So no, I would think twice before listening to another book read by Simon Vance.

If this book were a film would you go see it?

There is a Russian version and I'd be intrigued to see how they interpret the characters.

Any additional comments?

Plenty of better books out there.

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2 of 6 people found this review helpful

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