The sisters Karamazov

Introduction to the Reading

Ivan Radosavljević, KrR:
Already from its title, the new novel of Saša Obradović leaves no doubt as to the literary template that has been used as a narrative model: the famous novel The Brothers Karamazov by Dostoyevsky provides here a skeleton around which a modern, localized, top story forms. The grandeur of the original, of course, does not represent a problem at all: inspiration from classic literature is one of the standard patterns of Obradović’s literary process, and his distinctive playful irony has never given before any authority. Taking the necessary elements of the Dostoyevsky’s plot, our author creates a witty, smart and bitterly realistic post-modern detective story that bases its authentic foundation in our contemporary fiction.

The story of The Sisters Karamazov by Obradović covers the period from World War II to date. A reader follows the creation of a family in whose home a Karamazov-like crime will be committed. That family belongs to the elite of the new-age Serbia, but of course, its closets are full of ghosts. The father climbed to the former communist peaks by corrupting his morality and betraying his friends that catapulted him into the higher socialist class. The daughters, in turn, each in her own way, bring elements of reactive vanity and false dignity of the so-called high society, the political and cultural VIP, whose projected image is in such an agonizing disharmony with the character, personal value and principles to which they aspire. Developing and gradually revealing their characters before the reader’s eyes, exercising them on a winding path of the investigation, trial and consequences with which they remain to live in the world of this novel, Obradović also develops a panorama of our modern society, and in particular, one important part of its historical legacy that is still on stage.

Having in mind what I’ve said so far, one might think that The Sisters Karamazov is a very serious, grim novel, immersed in the critical analysis of causes and consequences, maybe some black social chronicle, suitable to the reality in which we live. But those who are familiar with the Obradović’s style know that a big “however” is yet to come, and of course, they are right. It is true that The Sisters Karamazov is a serious book by the author’s intent, by its literary value, by its psychological and social elements. However, the novel is also characterized by the distinctive elegance of storytelling, excellent humor and cheerful irony, which is not at all bitter and painful (as it could easily turn that way in the hands of a less skilled master). Above all, Obradović has a unique gift for the construction of an interesting, enticing plot that firmly draws the attention. He knows that this is a precondition for the credibility of a real murder mystery even more so when it is built on a template of an earlier detective story, the epilogue of which everyone knows.