Completed only two months before his death, The Brothers Karamazov is Dostoyevsky's largest, most expanisve, most life-embracing work. Filled with human passions—lust, greed, love, jealousy, sorrow and humor—the book is also infused with moral issues and the issue of collective guilt. As in many of Dostoyevsky's novels, the plot centers on a murder. Sucked into the crime's vortex are three brothers: Dmitri, a young officer utterly unrestrained in love, hatred, jealousy, and generosity; Ivan, an intellectual capable of delivering, impromptu, the most brilliant, lively, and unforgettable disquisitions about good and evil, God, and the devil; and Alyosha, the youngest brother, preternaturally patient, good, and loving.
Part mystery, part profound philosophical and theological debate, The Brothers Karamazov pulls the reader in on many different levels. As the Introduction says, "The characters Dostoyevsky writes about, though they may not appear to be ones who live on our street, or even on any street, seem, in their passions and lack of self-control, the familiar and intimate denizens of our souls." It's no wonder that for many people The Brothers Karamazov is one of the greatest novels ever written.