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The Brothers Karamazov  By  cover art

The Brothers Karamazov

By: Fyodor Dostoyevsky,David McDuff - translator
Narrated by: Luke Thompson
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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.

5 people found this helpful

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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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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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Outstanding narration

An extraordinary treatment of a great novel. His voice is lively and multi-dimensional without ever calling attention to itself.

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Now I Understand

As a young dyslexic reader I wld always stumble w Russian words, so to my HUGE delight I am now discovering great treasures by the brilliant Audible talents. So grateful. It’s life changing to finally share in the wisdom of this world literature!

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Narrator is amazing

All you’ve seen in reviews below re this narration is true, all the superlatives. Like listening to a play in many sections, the character’s voices so completely distinguished from one another. The passion of the brothers as well as the women is alive & it sparks. Like a new fresh reading, excellent.

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Brilliant Performance

I expected the book to be astounding, else why would we still be reading it a century and a half after it’s publication, and it was utterly magnificent. A work of genius. What I didn’t expect and was delighted to discover was Luke Thompson’s masterful performance. His delivery of Dostoyevsky’s labyrinthine prose is captivating and his distinct portrayal of every character is utterly believable. His reading sweeps you into the story and holds you there for the entire telling, even during the lengthy philosophical detours. It was a pleasure worth far more than the one credit I paid. Bravo Luke Thompson!

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Remarkable narration of a remarkable novel

Luke Thompson’s work on this audiobook is a jaw-dropping achievement. The skill and understanding Thompson brings to his narration help the reader to a fuller understanding of an established classic.

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A Must Read

The audio performance by Luke Thompson was marvelous.
I don’t think I could have enjoyed it more.

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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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  • 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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  • 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.

2 people found this helpful

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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!

2 people found this helpful

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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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  • Damien Collins
  • 11-12-22

wonderful

In a world, this has ruined audible for me, as it does not get any better than this, thank you!

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  • eastofeast
  • 10-31-22

Astonishing reading - epic

Despite my best intentions, I never thought that i would ever get around to reading this book, but thanks to Luke Thompson's extraordinary effort, i now know it, and certainly now that i know the plot and all its intricacies, I'll be able to read it myself again at a later date. I would say that Thompson's work is worth about six months of Audible subscription. He finds an extraordinary range of voices for the characters, is consistent in his delivery of them, and shows a very deep understanding of Russia. Whether he knows the language or not, i don't know, but his reading is certainly FAR from a superficial one.

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  • Alex
  • 10-20-22

Superb masterpiece

The book, translation and especially the actor reading the book - outstanding! I highly recommend it!

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  • Les21
  • 10-17-22

Great narrator for this fantastic book

I really like the performance of Luke Thompson, very impressive , it is a shame cannot find the crime and punishment read by him ( maybe it exists not sure ) . He just manage to capture so well the emotions of various characters . Very impressive

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  • Laurenod
  • 10-04-22

Best narrated audiobook of all time

Spectacular narration. Really astonished by the amount of individual voices the narrator uses, and how full of life and character each one is. Give him all the awards.

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  • Sufilover
  • 10-08-22

Masterful Rendition

A gripping novel on how childhood trauma results in the murder of a neglectful father, a commentary on the rise of socialism and materialism in the 19th century and a reminder that maintaining love and small acts of kindness is what really changes the world.

Dovtoyseky’s majestic artistry complemented by Luke Thompson’s narration make this audiobook a masterful rendition. I highly recommend this for anyone who wants to understand the world we are living in.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 09-27-22

Brilliant performance

Luke Thompson’s performance is simply astonishing. To be able to narrate every single page of this ginormous book with such passion and bravado is to be congratulated. I don’t think I would have been able to read The Brothers Karamazov without this audiobook. It must be noted, and this is not a criticism but merely a fact that should be addressed; Thompson uses a large variety of English accents to portray the wide cast of characters. This threw me off in the beginning as you go in to this book expecting a Russian drama, a feel like you’re experiencing an English drama. However, the fact that this is a Russian story and the country itself is so embedded in the text, you can suspend disbelief. This audiobook is absolutely worth your credit.

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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.