I have been thinking about Dostoyevsky lately. He is on my mind. Since I first read him as a teenager he was always my favorite writer since I first read him. He is a giant in my mind. There were some great Russian writers and he in my mind is the greatest of those I have read. I think most would give Tolstoy that honor. My favorite novel is The Brothers Karamazov, which I read the first half of again recently and plan to read the second half soon. Of all of the fictional characters in literature my favorite is his Alyosha from that novel. And my favorite image of Alyosha is when he was a young boy at school he did not like to hear the other schoolboys talk dirty and when they did he would cover his ears. As schoolboys are often cruel, they were amused by this and they would grab his hands and hold them down and yell dirty talk and obscenities into his ears to torment him. I was also greatly moved by the image of his mother while being abused by Fyodor, holding up Alyosha as a baby in front of an icon of the Theotokos and begging her to pray for and protect Alyosha. I am looking forward to reading the second half of the novel.
Dostoyevsky believed in God but he was Russian Orthodox. He is one of those great men like Solzhenitsyn or Tolstoy who I wish were Catholic because as we believe that outside the Church there is no salvation and they were Russians so they died outside the Church. Though I know some traditional Catholics consider some Orthodox to be really Catholics and inside the Church.
At one point after my conversion I had a scrupulous phase where I got rid of many of my non-Catholic books. Including my Dostoyevsky. But I regretted it later and I found some of my Dostoyevsky books for free on the internet which I have started to read, beginning with the first half of Karamazov.
But this thread is to ask the forum what they think about Dostoyevsky as a writer and more specifically The Brothers Karamazov.
There are two things that reminded me of this novel. First, I was having a conversation after Church last Sunday and I was told that during the viewing after the death of Pope Pius XII his body began to smell of death and corruption, just like Father Zosima in the novel. And also on the other traditional Catholic forum that I post on, Suscipe Domine, one of the atheist posters there was compared to Ivan Karamazov and I was compared to Alyosha.