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Book Reviews of Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment
ISBN-13: 9780553211757
ISBN-10: 0553211757
Publication Date: 1987
Pages: 576
  • Currently 3.9/5 Stars.

3.9 stars, based on 291 ratings
Publisher: Bantam Classics
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback
Reviews: Amazon | Write a Review

29 Book Reviews submitted by our Members...sorted by voted most helpful

mimibottoms avatar reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 58 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 4
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.
watch4birds avatar reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 13 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 3
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!!
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 109 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 2
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!
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 80 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is a GREAT novel. And I didn't read it because anyone forced me either. People try to make it out to be such an intimidating book, but the language is easy to understand (unlike say Charles Dickens or Jane Austen), after a while you get used to all the Russian names, and it's a fabulous, fascinating story.
campbellsoup avatar reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 11 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
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.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 20 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is spectacular.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 68 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
One of the all time greats. Read this one in high school.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 100 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
A review from Amazon.com:
Crime and Punishment is quite possibly the most widely read 19th century Russian novel in the English-speaking world, and while I might say it's a tad overrated (for reasons discussed below), there are many good reasons for its exalted status. In case you're not familiar with the story, it begins with the decision of an impoverished student, Raskolnikov, to rob and kill a pawnbroker, having justified his decision with the argument that her death will do the world more good than harm, both because she cheats her clients and because the money from the robbery will give him the start he needs to become a great man and ultimately benefit humanity. The action of the novel is confined to the day of the murder and a few days following it, during which time, in addition to dealing with a murder investigation led by a clever and intriguing detective who suspects him, Raskolnikov spends time with his mother and sister, who have just come to visit, and with the tragic Marmeladov family, consisting of a drunken father, a consumptive mother, three young children, and an eighteen-year old girl who is forced into prostitution in order to support the family.

Dostoevsky is notoriously good at investigating the psychology of his characters, and from that standpoint his treatment of Raskolnikov is probably the best in all of his work. While, as in many of his works, Dostoevsky includes a meek saint-figure (in this case Sonia, the prostitute mentioned above) through whose Christian love the other characters will hopefully be redeemed, Dostoevsky's most remarkable characters tend to be not the ones he idolizes but rather the "devil's advocates" with whom he disagrees, and Raskolnikov is probably the finest example of that. There are lots of other interesting characters too, and the plot is fairly action-packed with many moving and haunting scenes (Katerina Marmeladov's final descent into consumptive madness especially comes to mind), making the novel a surprisingly quick and enjoyable read considering its length and depth.

Unfortunately, there seems to be a tendency among some readers of the novel to be interested in it exclusively for Raskolnikov's proto-Nietzschean philosophy of the "Extraordinary Man" who, like Napoleon and, or so he believes, Raskolnikov himself, has a duty to overstep the most basic bounds of morality in order to achieve a high end. I say this is unfortunate for a couple of reasons: First, the majority of the action of the novel has nothing directly to do with the idea of the Extraordinary Man, so a reader who is concentrating exclusively on Dostoevsky's treatment of this idea will be missing out on the many other redeeming qualities of the book and will probably find most of the book a bit boring as a result. Second, especially from a modern, post-Nietzschean, point of view, Dostoevsky's treatment of the Extraordinary Man doesn't strike me (especially after a second reading, by which time the novelty had worn off) as being especially interesting philosophy. Granted, given that he was writing in 1866, it does seem somewhat impressive, but I'd have to say Nietzsche advocated the position better than Raskolnikov does, and I'm not sure how much enduring value there really is in this philosophical aspect of the novel. There is, however, immense enduring value in both the characters and the action of Crime and Punishment, and that strikes me as clearly the best reason to read the book. If you read Crime and Punishment in hopes of deriving as much as you can from the work, and not just in order to read arguments about a once-fashionable philosophical idea, I can't imagine that you'll disagree with myself and the vast number of others who regard this as one of the greatest works of world literature.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 2 more book reviews
Helpful Score: 1
This is one of my personal favorites of all-time. Dostoyevsky captures so well the intensity of Raskolnikov's emotions that I felt them myself. It's been a while since I read it, but I think I might have actually started sweating at the most suspenseful parts. :/ If you like classics and can endure a few boring chapters, the rest is well worth it!
Giggles avatar reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 47 more book reviews
I LOVE this book. I read it all the way back in high school because I had to, but I'm so glad I did! I loved the way it was written. I really appreciated being inside the man's head as he made the decisions he did.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 48 more book reviews
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.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 5 more book reviews
A must-read classic.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 6 more book reviews
Dark yet uplifting. A unique look into life in Russian society and how one man deals with his conscience.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 4 more book reviews
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 115 more book reviews
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.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 4 more book reviews
This is a challenging read, be prepared to invest some time in it.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 15 more book reviews
Excellent; fascinating study of the psychology of the criminal mind.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 82 more book reviews
This was an interesting novel but somewhat strange.
ProfDon avatar reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 38 more book reviews
Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoevsky


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
behemoth avatar reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 76 more book reviews
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.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on
I loved this book. Incredible storytelling. A page turner.
readabk avatar reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 62 more book reviews
"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?
deltatiger avatar reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 74 more book reviews
This is a powerful book. Haunting, moving, sometimes disturbing. The extent to which you can identify with Raskolnikov, understand and sympathize with him is enlightening or scary, depending on your image of yourself. This book is a great read, and a great classic.
jamiesueaustin avatar reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 19 more book reviews
Ok, I get it... it's a classic... *yawn* It's also tedious and boring.
eadieburke avatar reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 1221 more book reviews
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.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 16 more book reviews
** spoiler alert ** The writing is tremendous.

The atmosphere is claustrophobic and fully realized.

I did not root for the main character, merely thought him mentally ill and therefore a sympathetic character. But as the story progressed I found myself caring less and less for him and more about those around him. His sister, mother, and the eighteen year old girl he becomes smitten with. Especially her as she's taken with him and finds herself in his near-constant orbit. I worried tremendously for her, and the sister and mother.

The author should have introduced the main characters published article, his piece of theory on how the great should have specials rights and privileges above lesser citizens. Even the right to spill blood, lots of it for the greater good, for his/her greater good even. It not being introduced made me think he was too ill to have done it. That eventually led me to believe it was all in his head. If it was a slight of hand, it was a rough but admittedly effective one.

Every character was a good one. Even if they were despicable, they were superbly written.

My biggest problem was the ending. Not because the character took to the bible. That I understood. He realized he was in love and wanted close to him the thing she once owned. It's a means to a direct connection. A connection to her. It was the tease of possibilities to come. Things that could happen, may happen. But you never see it. The story ends with his love sick again but happy, and him clutching the closest connection he has to her.

After all that I wanted more. It wasn't a good enough ending. And for that I rated it 3 stars.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 418 more book reviews
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.
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 6 more book reviews
reviewed Crime and Punishment on + 12 more book reviews
Excellent book, good condition.
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