There would have been no civilization if they hadn’t invented God.

over the brandy


I’ve been thinking a lot about opening a new blog section. At first, I only thought of Patch & Works as a working vitrine. But heck, why refrain myself? So here it is, another addition to the “PATCH” part of this site. Here, I’ll be talking literature.

I’m a book-addict; the kind who never leaves the house without slipping a book in my bag,whatever the occasion. I’d like to say I’m curing myself, but truth is, I’m not. I love buying new books, and most of all, reading. I have a plethora of novels I re-read every year (going from the classical Harry Potter series to Schopenhauer’s aphorisms). 

To open the series, I’ll be telling you about my September readings. The books are presented in my preference order. Let’s go!

what’s strange, what would be marvelous, is not that God should really exist; the marvel is that such an idea, the idea of the necessity of God, could enter the head of such a savage, vicious beast as man.

Ivan karamazov to Alyosha



A love-hate relationship

If I only had to choose one, I’d recommend in a blink The Brothers Karamazov.

In 2017, I discovered the tale through Bellorini’s staging when the play passed in Lyon. I saw it twice, and felt a little frustration every time, as if I were missing a part of the story. I admit that the fact I fell asleep at each representation for 10 min at the very same moment might have to do with it . I recently decided to pick up the book and see for myself. I’m so thankful for this decision!

Even if it took me a while to finish The Brothers Karamazov, Dostoyevsky’s portrait of Russia blew me away. Through a parricide’s tale, we dive into a world of decadence, cynicism and predestination against a backdrop of religious reflection. This being said, many other themes (and subplots) overlap in the novel such as lost innocence, depravity, ethics, justice, morality, etc. The principal story unravels quite slowly, allowing Dostoyevsky to ponder a plethora of subjects and interrogations.

Miüsov, my relation, prefers to have plus de noblesse que de sincérité in his words, but I prefer in mine plus de sincérité que de noblesse, and — damn the noblesse!

Fiodor Karamazov

A picture of my The Brothers Karamazov edition - recto
A picture of my The Brothers Karamazov edition - verso (in french)

My book’s edition. Compact, but heavy


Fyodor Karamazov is a greedy, depraved man on the verge of dying, murdered by one of his offspring. The story revolves around him, his life, beliefs, and his relationship with his three (supposedly four) sons. Each Karamazov brother’s story offers us with a particular point of view on life, religion, and Russia. Dmitri the impulsive, considered as the “truest Karamazov” of all brothers, Ivan the atheist, and the youngest, Alyosha the religious – endlessly tempted as soon as he leaves the convent – each represent a part of Dostoyevsky’s Russia, and of his own fears and doubts. The people gravitating around the Karamazov’s dysfunctional family complete this portrait, igniting passions or dealing with their own torments.

You can easily imagine what a father such a man could be and how he would bring up his children. His behavior as a father was exactly what might be expected. He completely abandoned the child of his marriage with Adelaïda Ivanovna, not from malice, nor because of his matrimonial grievances, but simply because he forgot him.

The narrator on Fyodor Karamazov


Dostoyevsky’s picturesque descriptions plunges us into this fascinating – though gloomy – atmosphere.

As in The possessed, the novel becomes a playground, where reader and author interact continuously. The narrator plays with us, either commenting on the characters’ personalities / actions, distorting time, or omitting details. In a way, this lecture reminded me a lot of Diderot’s Jacques the Fatalist. The complicity we build with the omniscient storyteller adds a “lighthearted layer” to a dark tale.

I see I shall do better not to apologize. I will do my best and the reader will see for himself that I have done all I can.

The narrator to the reader


The Brothers Karamazov isn’t the usual page-turner summer book you take on the beach (if you do, kudos!). As a fast reader, I thought The Brothers Karamazov would feel like a walk in a park, and allow me to wait for my next Kundera order to arrive. Instead of being “a matter of days”, it transformed into “a matter of weeks”. The language, the plots, the people require extreme attention. But taking the time is totally worth it.

I think the characters’ diversity easily makes the book a sort of “companion for life”. I can imagine myself re-reading The Brothers Karamazov and identifying, in turns, to different persons. For instance, I think younger me would have totally identified with Alyosha’s questioning on life and religion, whereas present me really identified with Ivan.


Overall, The Brothers Karamazov made me rediscover Dostoyevsky’s (dark) universe. I particularly loved the author’s take on certitude and morality. Through chores, discussions, hallucinations or even actions, each character is shaken and has to face their initial certitudes. 

I don’t want to understand anything now. I want to stick to the fact. I made up my mind long ago not to understand. If I try to understand anything, I shall be false to the fact, and I have determined to stick to the fact

Ivan Karamazov to Alyosha


This was one of my firsts, but certainly not the last Dostoyevsky. Guess what’s on my reading list for October? The Possessed! #neverenough


I must explain that this young man, Alyosha, was not a fanatic, and, in my opinion at least, was not even a mystic. I may as well give my full opinion from the beginning. He was simply an early lover of humanity, and that he adopted the monastic life was simply because at that time it struck him, so to say, as the ideal escape for his soul struggling from the darkness of worldly wickedness to the light of love

Narrator on Alyosha

If there is a God, if He exists, then, of course, I’m to blame, and I shall have to answer for it. But if there isn’t a God at all, what do they deserve, your fathers?

Fyodor Karamazov to Alyosha

Joking? I was told at the elder’s yesterday that I was joking. You know, dear boy, there was an old sinner in the eighteenth century who declared that, if there were no God, he would have to be invented. S’il n’existait pas Dieu, il faudrait l’inventer. And man has actually invented God. And what’s strange, what would be marvelous, is not that God should really exist; the marvel is that such an idea, the idea of the necessity of God, could enter the head of such a savage, vicious beast as man. So holy it is, so touching, so wise and so great a credit it does to man. As for me, I’ve long resolved not to think whether man created God or God man.

Ivan Karamazov to Alyosha

I hasten to emphasize the fact that I am far from esteeming myself capable of reporting all that took place at the trial in full detail, or even in the actual order of events. I imagine that to mention everything with full explanation would fill a volume, even a very large one. And so I trust I may not be reproached, for confining myself to what struck me. I may have selected as of most interest what was of secondary importance, and may have omitted the most prominent and essential details. But I see I shall do better not to apologize. I will do my best and the reader will see for himself that I have done all I can.

the narrator to the reader

What about you? What are you reading those days?

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