The narrator has invited you and several other guests to his home for a reading of the first installment of his new novel, the story of the Brothers Karamazov.
The narrator’s house is usually very quiet – you might not even notice it as you pass through town. But on this cold January night, the humble house is proud with light and bursting with anticipation. The narrator has, with the publication of his story, become quite a star!
When you enter the house, you notice the narrator in the very center of the room, holding court over a group of local admirers. You want to say hello, but the crowd around him is too thick. You linger in the doorway for a moment and take in the details of the room. To your left is a circle of fashionable ladies, their heads inclined over a magazine. To your right is the narrator’s desk — his papers arranged in uncharacteristic and reverent order, and the desk itself lit up like a shrine. Next to the desk, just beyond the glow of its lamps, huddles a dissatisfied group of gossips, muttering bitterly. They see you watching them, and they eye you suspiciously.
Soon, the narrator takes his place on a small dais in the center of the room. He clears his throat once, twice, and then begins to read the first book of the Brothers Karamazov. His words fill you with terror and rapture, until you feel that you are right there on that fateful day at the monastery, when it all began…