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Alyosha in The Brothers Karamazov. The classic hero in a dysfunctional family. Most psychically wounded people do not become saints, but maybe they should. If a person dies of sadness, or simply doesn’t have the balls to overcome a painful childhood and live fully, does that person become a martyr? Ah, that a creative genius could write a novel about every suffering adult who survives a childhood with wicked parents.

Yeah, I said wicked.

Alyosha’s mother dies when he’s still a child. His father is a disastrous drunk and more than that, a narcissist. He takes advantage of a disadvantage and makes a baby while he’s at it. Taking an advantage, that’s a euphemism for Droit du seigneur. Which is a euphemism for . . . well, I don’t want to be a spoiler. That baby turns into an angry young man, as so often happens.

Sha la la la la. When the sun rose and he made to leave.

In Demons, or The Possessed, also by Fyodor D, a different nobleman with (perhaps) a better moral fiber commits his own little sex crime. He develops a brain fever, a guilty conscience, a ceaseless soul suffering. Soul suffering can destroy a man and hurt the people he loves.

Sha la la la la. And neither one regretted a thing.



PS I wrote a song about Demons a million years ago. Appropriately, it’s called “Stavo’s Confession.” The CD got at least one (lukewarm) review. The critic said I was singing in a fake English accent. Ouch! But that’s not such a bad idea, really.