The Brothers Karamazov, Books VIII and IX: Ellipsis be damned!

Ellipsis is a narrative device wherein the author skips over some really effing important details or actions in a story to help build tension.  In BK Book VIII, Dostoyevsky shows Dmitri bashing in Grigory’s skull with a pestle, the narrative skips a beat, and then Dmitri showing up at Perkhotin’s with a shitload of cash that he didn’t have a few hours earlier.  Alright, so where’d the cash come from?  I had to go back through a couple different chapters before I realized that Dostoyevsky intentionally hid from us the event where Dmitri acquires the money.  Alright, whatever.

Then all the confusion came once Book IX started, when everybody is talking about Dmitri killing his father, Fyodor.  What?  That’s…not what happened, right?  I just pulled up to the part where Grigory’s wife has found Grigory alive in the garden, all jacked up, and people are still talking about Fyodor’s murder.  I’m so confused.  What just happened?  Narrative ellipsis are supposed to heighten tension and manipulate readers, not confuse the hell out of us to the point of anger.

In explaining the plot to Amanda the other day (couched in a discussion about the bullshit that is House of Leaves), she came up with the most apt word for The Brothers Karamazov: trashy.  It’s true.  This book, stripped of Dostoyevsky’s proselytizing, is worse than a reality TV soap opera.  The difference, however, is that BK’s plot becomes just a little more incomprehensible every 50 pages or so.

UPDATE: Okay, so maybe I should’ve kept reading.  Turns out someone killed Fyodor around the same time Dmitri bashed in Grigory’s skull.  Fine fine, but then what about the money?  Well, Book IX is all about the police interrogating Dmitri, and that gets explained, too.  Christ, what a weird and awkward ellipsis by Dostoyevsky there.

And–AND–Dmitri is an unremitting idiot.  Besides the self-implication and the moronic whimperings about seeing the begging peasants after the interrogation, what reasons has this book given me for why should I care what happens to Dmitri, whether he’s found guilty of killing his father or not?  It hasn’t given any, unless–UNLESS–Dmitri is the season two True Detective!  Yes, that’s it.  That’s the only explanation.

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