Name that novel:
Oh, but the last fifty pages (I was back in the country by then, so perhaps that was the reason) I had to struggle and struggle. Yes, to end the book, he comes up with 25 pages of “philosophy” on the meaninglessness of life and how it might be ameliorated by listening to the views of Russian peasants; and then another 25 pages on the madness of Panslavism which has led to recent Russian involvement in the Serbian insurrection against Ottoman rule. (Sorry if I’ve now ruined the ending for anyone who hasn’t yet read it).
For the answer see an Obooki review that not only takes the side of Dostoevskii over Tolstoi, but The Devils over the much-loved book in question. Obooki tempers his criticism with a look at early stream-of-consciousness prose in Tolstoi, which is picked up in a Wuthering Expectations post on Tolstoi and Arthur Schnitzler.