The Brothers Karamazov
If I said I enjoyed reading this book, it would not be quite true. It was heavy going at times, especially in the second quarter. It took me several months to get through that, while I usually finish books in a sitting or two. However, after the halfway mark the pace did pick up and I was done in a few days. If you give this book a shot, you owe it to yourself to get to that halfway mark.
What I appreciated most was the characters - each one described in rich detail, each unique in their own way, each one realer than real life. The relationships that each person had with every other person felt authentic. Their speech was archaic, but you could tell how they felt about each other, The most believable parts were when characters contradicted themselves, and they did this frequently. They say one thing and do something else. They do something and repudiate that soon after. In a story where you don’t know the characters well such contradictions would lead to a morass of meaninglessness. But people we know, ourselves included, are just a mishmash of contradictions and Dostoevsky helps us understand that.
Not many authors are capable of this, which is why I appreciate it when I see a master craft such a tale.