Karamazov and Birdsong

Yesterday foreshadowed summer as I sat reading in the sun in the garden, surrounded on three sides by forest, silence punctuated by birdsong. As a long-time city dweller I am frustrated not to be able to identify which birds are responsible for those rolling, brief songs that are interrupted in turn by the single, long continuous notes.

In between dozing amid the birdsong I read The Brothers Karamazov to about the quarter-way point. It’s an oddity, very different from what I remember of Crime and Punishment, a novel driven by each character’s interiority. Karamazov reads more like a novel prepared with a film deal foremost to mind, a sequence of set pieces populated by divinely distinct characters relaying their remembering and forgetting through dialogue.

It was in fact rather like the garden’s birdsong, a chain of thin notes from the blackbirds reminiscent of the rhythm of the monks surrounding the elder Zosima; the goldfinch’s trill accompanying the scene in which the great beauties Katerina and Grushenka shock Alexei Karamazov, and the bold rook’s harsh cough an echo of the crazy Father Ferapont seeing devils around every corner.

2 thoughts on “Karamazov and Birdsong

  1. interesting extended metaphors… something like D. might have written himself. thinking of the long exposition re the inquisition later on which i remember was pretty confusing; i don’t think i ever did figure out what he was getting at. i should read it again, i suppose, but as they say, little time, lots of books…

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