Friday, July 30, 2010
100 bottles of Vodka on the wall, 100 bottles of Vodka. Take one down, pass it around and....Ceilidh!! It's the Brothers Karamzov Readalong Part I! A post in which I confess that I have no idea what's going on plot-wise and am not even sure how to pronounce Karamazov. This post focuses on Part I of Brothers Karamazov--pages 1-160 of my edition. There aren't really any spoilers in this post so no need to cover those eyes.
I think I can feel Jill shooting daggers at me with her eyes—halfway across the nation. What the heck did I get us into with this book?? If you’ve read it or any Dostoevsky, encouraging words please!
What’s going on so far (from what I can tell):
There are three brothers Karamazov: Dmitri, Ivan, and Alexei (or Alyosha). Their father, Fyodor is a drunkard, woman seducing, somethingsomething, who loses track of his sons after their mothers die. Now that all the boys are grown up and doing their own thing (Dmitri a soldier, Ivan an intellect, and Alyosha a spiritualist), they meet together at Alyosha’s monastery with their father to work out an agreement for Dmitri’s inheritance. Their agreement turns into disagreement when it surfaces that Fyodor and Dmitri are in love with the same woman, Grushenka. Add another woman into the mix, Dmitri’s fiancée Katerina, and this books is the beginnings of a disaster!
Thoughts so far (from what I can decide):
Honestly, I feel like I could probably start reading this book from the beginning and pick up so much more information. It took me about 50 pages (out of 160) to get into the groove of the writing and I have a sad basic (if that!) understanding of what’s going on plotwise. Actually, when I’m understanding what’s going on it isn’t that bad. Good news is there’s a lot of dialect and some if it's actually funny...in a way. These Karamazovs are quite the characters and none of them really seem to get along with one another. Alyosha is my favorite so far, but he can also be kind of a prude.
Could the names of the characters be any more confusing? We all thought that Wuthering Heights was bad with the Lintons and Cathys, but seriously?! Everyone has a nickname and in the same sentence multiple nicknames for one character can be used.
There is a lot of religious discussion so far that I can’t really say I get. Seems that many of the characters are atheist and there’s a lot of interesting conversations between the characters regarding their souls and eternal punishment and the separation of Church and State and… While it’s interesting, it does make my head hurt a lot.
Hmmm, maybe not the most positive response so far, but there was a twist at the end of Part I that made me gasp outloud, so I think things will start to get interesting. And maybe I’ll just go back and re-read Part I now that I’m familiar with the characters. I'll admit I’ve had to rely on the good ole Sparknotes to glean some type of understanding of the Brothers K.
Some notable quotes:
"'But, really, what are you talking about?'" (66). Hee hee.
"'A man who lies to himself and listens to his own lie comes to a point where he does not discern any truth either in himself or anywhere around him, and thus falls into disrespect towards himself and others. Not respecting anyone, he ceases to love, and having no love, he gives himself up to passions and course pleasures, in order to occupy and amuse himself, and his vices reaches complete bestiality, and it all comes from lying continually to others and to himself'" (44).
"'Wait, Alexei, one more confession to you alone!' Dmitri Fyodorovich suddenly turned back. 'Look at me, look closely: right here, do you see, right here a horrible dishonor is being prepared.' (As he said 'right here,' Dmirtir Fyodorovich struck himself on the chest with his fist, and with such strange look as though the dishonor was lying and being kept precisely there on his chest, in some actual place, maybe in a pocket, or sewn up and hanging around his neck.)" (156).
And one question for the crowd: Pronunciation: Kare-uh-mah-zov? Kah-rah-mah-zov? I say the first but mostly just say Brothers K since I’m not really sure! :P
Hope to be more enlightened before the next wrap-up! Pop by Fizzy Thoughts if you're interested in joining us! Misery loves company, right?