Fyodor Dostoevsky: The Brothers Karamazov (1880)
The question of 'Why This Book':
The first time I heard about The Brothers Karamazov was from the pulpit. My father, a Lutheran pastor, interweaves literary, historical and philosophical references in his sermons. The Brothers Karamazov appeared in many of his speeches. Now, show me a book recommendation stronger than the one coming from one's father! I wish I could recall the exact contexts in which he referenced to the book. I wish I could remember every sentences my parents ever made and make them eternal that way. Few could teach about Faith and our relationship to it the way my father does. Fyodor Dostoevsky is one.
What I do remember though is that each time I heard my father talking about the "unavoidable, powerful and touching" works of Dostoevsky as he put it, "the most important prose ever written besides the Bible", I took a mental note:
"Someday I must read The Brothers Karamazov."
So when I found out that The Brothers Karamazov was among Hemingway's favorites that I had vowed to read, I was thrilled to get to it right away.
"Am glad you are useing Crime and Punishment; what about the Brothers and the Idiot? I always thought the Gambler was a wonderful story too."
(Ernest Hemingway to William W. Seward, 1947)
In my teenage years I read Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment and loved it. When I picked up The Brothers Karamazov, well, a couple of months ago (!it took me three months to read it!), I couldn't have been more positively biased towards it. Maybe that was what went wrong.
I'll share my review with you here soon. Just hope my parents will never find out about it.