(Spelling of the author's name varies by publisher)
Dostoevsky originally intended this as a book about children and their unique way of seeing the world and interacting with adults and their rules. And although several chapters carry this theme, he expanded the novel on the insistence of his publisher to create a most unusual work of fiction.
The father has been described as the most obnoxious character in print. His sons are each as different from each other as believably possible. One is a pious monk. Another a stiff soldier turned lawyer. One is a developmentally disabled. And one a carousing daredevil who wins your heart.
The novel avoids abject tradgedy. In several passages it is uplifting. It wanders the Russian landscape seemingly without object, and then mounts suddenly to tie in the elements to a stunning cressendo and satisfyfing ending.