by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
“Remember particularly that you cannot be a judge of anyone. For no one can judge a criminal until he recognizes that he is just such a criminal as the man standing before him, and that he perhaps is more than all men to blame for that crime. When he understands that, he will be able to be a judge. Though that sounds absurd, it is true. If I had been righteous myself, perhaps there would have been no criminal standing before me. If you can take upon yourself the crime of the criminal your heart is judging, take it at once, suffer for him yourself, and let him go without reproach. And even if the law itself makes you his judge, act in the same spirit so far as possible, for he will go away and condemn himself more bitterly than you have done. If, after your kiss, he goes away untouched, mocking at you, do not let that be a stumbling-block to you. It shows his time has not yet come, but it will come in due course. And if it come not, no matter; if not he, then another in his place will understand and suffer, and judge and condemn himself, and the truth will be fulfilled. Believe that, believe it without doubt; for in that lies all the hope and faith of the saints.” ―I read this on a Kindle (definitely not my preferred format) and it took me from mid-October until the end of February to finish it. There is a plot, essentially a murder to be solved, but that didn't seem to be the point of the book. How the three brothers respond to what happens to them, and how they respond to each other gives Dostoevsky a platform for raising all kinds of questions about God, and how one should live, and what obligation a person has to his fellow men. That seemed to be what the book was really about. It seems like a book that would reward re-reading.
This book is on my Classics Club list.