Remember the Monty Python skit where a man goes into the police station to register a complaint. However the sergeant at the desk can only understand him if the civilian talks in a very high voice. Likewise the detective can only hear in a very low voice, while others can only hear very slowly spoken words or very fast spoken words. To watch the skit and to see everyone talking and jumping from one "voice" to another. Fyodor does just this. He narrates teh story in one voice, and each character talks in another. I was really impressed in the scene at the monastery when all the brothers and Miusov, two priests, the elder, and one novice.... nine people.
But it isn't just the characterization... it is the depth of their beliefs. There are ample opportunities for the reader, even very early in the book, to read the thoughts or heart-felt convictions of a character and to say to one's self "thats how I feel".
Thus far a beautifuly written and intriguing book.