This is a true psychological tale of a man who has committed a crime and the varied ways in which he is "punished." Raskolnikov is the main character. Many times when reading this story I wonder whether he was crazy, really intelligent, or just plain egomaniacal. The story delves far into his mind leading up to, during, and after his dreaded crime. The setting is mid to late 1800s in Petersburg, Russia. I think some of the wording is odd, but this may be because of the age of the story or the translation. A very enjoyable book if you like classic literature and psychological mysteries.
This is easily one of my top three favorite literature novels. Obviously, I recommend that you try it - but be forewarned, it is very difficult to read. All Russian novels are, mainly because the language is so different from English - but mostly because of the character names. In Russian, one can have up to 3,4, or even 5 variations on a name which makes it difficult to keep track of characters (plus, a lot of names look very similar which is tricky as well). However, conquering this only gives you sense of satisfaction upon completion. The most pivotal moments of the novel, when the main character heads off to the old woman's apartment and the scenes that follow, are maybe the best words I have ever read. I was at the edge of my seat with eyes wide with a mixture of shock and horror. READ IT!!
It's been years since I read (and loved) this classic!
An impoverished student in St.Petersburg plans the perfect murder. The novel becomes a psychological study, a murder mystery, and a philosophical/ social commentary - along with a great story!
One of the all time greats. Read this one in high school.
This is one of my favorite books. The language and wording is a little difficult because it was translated from Russian and the Russian way of thinking is different than ours. They have their own thought patterns just as we do. It is still a very good book despite the lingering language barrier. One of the best books to read if you want to start a study of the human mind.
Norton has some of the best translation from Russian to English. This is a translation worth reading.
Crime and Punishment
I actually gave serious thought to stopping right there, making this a one-word review, but then I got to thinking it might be possible that one or two people who read this review might not have read this classic already...although that seems unlikely. Despite the fact Tolstoy's Anna Karenina is often touted as 'the best novel ever written' more people have missed reading that than have bypassed Crime and Punishment. I for one am not surprised given that word with which I began. Perhaps it's the fact Dostoevsky focuses his attention not on Tolstoy's aristocracy or even Turgenev's landed gentry, but on the meanest, most downtrodden souls to be found in the poorest, grubbiest quarters of St. Petersburg...the very people he must have rubbed elbows with during his days as a revolutionary and a prisoner in exile. Perhaps it's his skill at revealing the minds of his characters in ways that strike familiar chords in the reader. I'll let the experts deal with the whys and the wherefores and just comment here that this is not simply a tale about one disturbed individual who commits murder and then suffers the pangs of conscience for so doing even as he and nearly everyone else, including the police, work hard at justifying his actions. Raskolnikov's tale is the centerpiece of the novel but Dostoevsky skillfully places those acts in a context which includes not only his beloved mother and sister, but also helpful and well-meaning though sometimes maddening and even destructive friends, a variety of antagonists, and even a few 'extras' that nicely round out the cast of pitiable and pathetic characters which are equally fascinating...and I for one find myself drawn into the whole of it each and every time I read this book.
Don Le Couteur
18 March 2012
"One of the greatest and most readable novels ever written. From the beginning we are locked into the frenzied consciousness of Raskolnikov who, against better instincts, is inexorable drawn to commit a brutal double murder. From that moment on, we share his conflicting feelings of self-loathing and pride, of contempt for and need of others, and of terrible despair and hope of redemption: and, in a remarkable transformation of the detective novel, we follow his agonised efforts to probe and confront both his own motives for, and the consequences of, his crime. The result is a tragic novel built out of a series of supremely dramatic scenes that illuminate the eternal conflicts at the heart of human existence; most especially our desire for self-expression and self-fulfillment, as against the constraints of morality and human laws; and our agonised awareness of the world's harsh injustices and of our own mortality, as against the mysteries of divine justice and immortality."
This book is on nearly every High School Honors English class book list. Does your teenager need it this year?
I loved this book. Incredible storytelling. A page turner.
I will echo other reviews:
-The language barrier is the first aspect of Crime and Punishment that will slap you in the face. Names of characters are hard to follow because they are unusual to the American ear and each person goes by 2 or 3 names. The language differences also create some odd pacing and wordings.
-The other difficulty is time and setting. Basically you are going to have to do some homework to understand this story to the fullest.
At the end of the day you have a story that takes you into the mind of a killer and explores his paranoid gripped world. The paranoia of our killer's thoughts are well done and well written, this is an interesting facet of the book. The action in the story is limited, so you really need to enjoy the depths of the killer's paranoid thought circles.
His journey is the platform to explore salvation, wrong and right, and the value of human life. So you have a well written book that raises some valuable questions about life, but it is not easily accessible. I will compare it to crab legs, the meat is tasty but how long are you willing to work to crack open the shell.
Regarded as some as the greatest novel ever written. Meet one of the great figures in world literature--Raskolnikov--who tries to plan the perfect crime.
This was a very good book although it was hard to get into but if you are willing to take the time to read it then you might enjoy it
From the back cover: CRIME AND PUNISHMENT takes the reader on a journey into the darkest recesses of the criminal and depraved mind, and exposes the soul of a man possessed by both good and evil...a man who cannot excape his own conscience.
This was an interesting novel but somewhat strange.
Dostoyevsky is my favorite author and this is without a doubt my favorite of his novels. The character of Raskolnikov, in addition to being a prophetic archetype of the Marxist or Nietzcheian "superman" compels you to sympathize with him as he seeks to arbitrate his own justice by killing a woman and then facing the consequences of his own guilt and condemnation as a result.
Says my husband: "Very well read by Alex Jennings. The abridgement was a bit jumpy and seemed to lose some of the story's details, but it was still an entertaining and enlightening picture of 19th Century Russian life."
Ok, I get it... it's a classic... *yawn* It's also tedious and boring.
Dostoyevsky is one of my favourite authors, but this is not one of my favourite works by him. I could never really understand why this is on recommended reading lists before his short stories or "The Idiot".
I am not stating that it does not have its merits, however.
This is a must read classic. It explores the mind of the kind-hearted Raskolnikov and his psychological journey to hell amidst poverty and corruption. I found this book riveting and difficult to put down. Dostoevsky describes the emotions of his characters in such way, it makes the reader actually feel what the characters are going through. This is Dostoevsky's greatest masterpiece and definitely a book everyone should read.
Excellent book, good condition.