The Brothers Karamazov

Regarded by many as the greatest literary work of all time, The Brothers Karamazov (or TBK) is 800 pages and a tough, hard book to read. Some really cool    people like Kurt Vonnegut, Einstein, Camus, Freud and many others including one of my mentors have recommended it highly. But I’d never read something that long before so I decided to take it as a side-on i.e. TBK would be the book besides the main one I’d be reading. That all changed on the first night itself, I clearly remember starting around 11 and every time I’d look at the clock a few hours had passed. I slept at 4 am that night and was kept awake for many successive nights experiencing a magnum opus unfold. The story revolves around the Karamazov family, headed by a wicked and reckless father and his three contrasting sons. The author created starkly different world views for these characters and then threw them against each other & the world.  Written with enthralling prose the author evokes contrasting emotions and is able to relate the reader to different characters at will. Along the way he questions morality, sin, redemption, justice, family, religion, philosophy and produces a masterpiece like few others. The chapters are non linear and have vivid, emotional, painful & suffering laden scenes which bring out the flaws and frailties of the human condition. By a certain point you know that this is going to be a train wreck but you watch it unfold in horror or fascination or both. This book was a mountain to climb with many peaks before the summit. I don’t know if it’s the greatest literary work ever written, but I can for certain say that it’s the greatest book I’ve read till now.