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Publisher's Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

This Penguin Classic is performed by Luke Thompson, best known for his role in the hit Netflix drama Bridgerton. This definitive recording includes an introduction by David McDuff.  

The murder of brutal landowner Fyodor Karamazov changes the lives of his sons irrevocably: Mitya, the sensualist, whose bitter rivalry with his father immediately places him under suspicion for parricide; Ivan, the intellectual, driven to breakdown; the spiritual Alyosha, who tries to heal the family's rifts; and the shadowy figure of their bastard half-brother, Smerdyakov. Dostoyevsky's dark masterwork evokes a world where the lines between innocence and corruption, good and evil, blur and everyone's faith in humanity is tested.

Translated with an introduction and notes by David McDuff.

©2003 David McDuff (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic Reviews

"The most magnificent novel ever written." (Sigmund Freud)

What listeners say about The Brothers Karamazov

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Fix an error near the end of chapter 7.

The text repeats and overlaps. I've listened to the section twice and I'm convinced it is an error in editing, not in the audio player.

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Best narration + translation so far

This is a newer release and didn't have many reviews when I chose it, but after sampling the Luke Thompson narration it seemed promising. Which translation to choose for The Brothers Karamazov is a subject of debate, but the McDuff translation is good and well suited to an audio performance. I had been meaning to go back to this book for years and this made it so much more accessible than any version I had tried. Thank you!

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Had really great moments that made it worth it.

Most of the novel is tedious, it's so hard to follow the long winded dialogue between the various characters, sometimes it seems they just mumble on about nothing but maybe I'm just dumb I don't know; BUT THEN, you are all of a sudden smacked in the face by a beautiful and amazing 40 minutes that make you cry and clap at the end. there are about 5 parts of the book that made me cry the literature was so good. Elder zosima memoir, The Grand Inquisitor, alyosha's epiphany after zosimas death, Ivan's conversation with the devil, and the funeral at the end, all made me clap for joy at the end of these parts. The trial was dramatic but the two speeches flew right over my head I couldn't keep up.

the whole novel is worth listening to just to get to these parts. I look forward to watching some YouTube videos/lectures that unpack this one for me a little bit, I most definitely had trouble, just be warned it's a good read and it should keep you all 40 hours but it is not a casual read there is a lot to unpack.

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Wonderful Read

The voice actor obviously had a solid understanding of the author's intent. Such a brilliant performance, I look forward to listening again!

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Masterful reading! Truly impressive.

I have loved Dostoyevsky since I was young, yet had never read the Brothers Karamazov, which I had heard was one of his masterpieces, combining all the themes of his earlier works.

I was instantly struck by how much the reader added to this long and winding tale. He uses different voices and accents (English regional analogs to Russian linguistic geographies) throughout, and he manages to make each sound unique, and embellishes enough non-verbal vocalizations that add immense character to a classic novel that is teeming with characters.

I think it takes a lot of confidence and gusto to imbue so much personality into these famous fictional characters, and Mr. Thompson seems to treat it like a Royal Shakespearean Thespian, but not in a bombastic or overdone way. I am a huge fan of audio books, and Luke Thompson’s performances in this one is truly a tour de force. I would say he does nearly as much heavy lifting as the translator, who also does an amazing job. Of course, I have only heard one translation, but a spot comparison seemed to indicate that this McDuff version is better than the older more commonly found one.

Anyway, kudos to all who were involved in producing this work. Rendering one of the all time world’s best writer’s masterpiece unto sound is no small task, and you all rose to the very high occasion. I salute you!

Here’s to hoping that you tackle many more classics in the future.

Ian F.

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greatest novel of all time

He is the father of steel man arguments. The genius of this man is hard to grasp.

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Great narrator

Great book. Great narrator. I did not like the book as much as Crime and Punishment, but still with the long listen.

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Top notch narration

This feels like the most important book I’ll ever read (or listen to), but some of the other narrations don’t do it justice. This guy is fantastic. One of those narrators that puts the character in voice: the depraved (yet somehow the most likable) father, the seamlessly honest youngest brother, the cold and lost middle, and the rash romantic oldest. He hits the notes really well and seemed to enjoy himself.

Fantastic job. Now I have another audible Dostoyevsky gem along with the Anthony Heald Crime and Punishment.

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Classic Book, Great Narrator

The Brothers Karamozov is a classic that the average reader will most likely struggle through because of its length and its complexity. That being said it is a shame because Dostoyevsky touches on so many areas that the modern reader should ponder. This is where Thompson's narration and McDuff's translation really helps. Thompson's narration is fantastic, brings the book to life, and will definitely help the reader through this book.

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  • Wine2you2me
  • 08-09-21

Mind blowing narration

WOW is Luke Thompson’s narration amazing! He’s the most underrated actor ever!!! I don’t know how someone can do so many hours of work and sound consistent through all of it. Please keep going!

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  • Benjamin Closier
  • 06-02-22

Best narrator I’ve ever heard

I am not even half way through the book and I had to stop and highlight how the narrator brings out the genius of this book. He makes every word bring out their true nuance of anger, love, philosophy and humour which you would definitely miss upon your own reading. Every character is fantastically voiced and everything fits.

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  • Mr B Islam
  • 11-24-21

Wonderful performance

The book is of course a masterpiece which I have read four times and gained something on each reading. What stands out here is the reader's superb delivery and range of voices.

1 person found this helpful

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  • Ben Waterhouse
  • 04-07-22

Incredible voice acting adds so much

The best narration - adds so much to the dialogue, brings out meaning and makes it easier to follow. The voices and accents are brilliant! Adds so much to an incredible book. The narrator deserves awards for this!

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  • Anonymous User
  • 04-01-22

Brilliant!

I have attempted to get through this book in paperback a few times but couldn’t find the time or motivation to deal with it. Finally got round to listening to this audio version and highly recommend it.

Although the story, in my opinion, isn’t as gripping as Crime and Punishment, it is excellent. Luke Thompson is a great narrator and does bring the characters to life well.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-21-22

Unpredictable and Terrifying

This book is a madness :0 good performance and I like the northern accents and polish blokes

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  • Kindle Customer
  • 12-10-21

Great performance of a great book

just wanted to say that Luke Thompson is unbelievable. His performance of the characters is outstanding, and he deserves awards and plaudits. His evocation of Fyodor Karamazov is extremely memorable. He elevates a classic in world literature to even higher heights.

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  • JJ Nuttall
  • 07-06-22

Bravo to a classic!

I doubt I would have tackled this behemoth had it not been for Luke Thompson’s stellar performance narrating this long and winding road of a story.
Luke made it relatable and it became a joyous part of my day listening to him bring all the characters to life with such gusto!
At one point two characters are arguing one with a Scottish accent and the other Welsh, and Luke pulled it off without a hitch, hats off to you sir! Bravo!
Any chance Luke Thompson can do some more classics like this?

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  • Tim McInnis
  • 09-18-21

Admirable but taxing in several ways

The author is to be admired for his profound intellect, personal life story, use of language, and Herculean effort in writing this. For me, though, having finally tackled Brothers Karamazov with great expectations for a personal watershed moment, it was disappointing. The story is one big soap opera, interspersed with lengthy discourses on the eternal questions (god, morality, etc.), and it's an anthem to Russia. Not really my cup of tea. The narrator, on the other hand, was absolutely brilliant. It was he who carried me through to the end.