Crime and Punishment

My first completed book for my 2009 Reading Challenge is Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky or Dostoyevsky or however you want to spell it.  According to our literature database there are many "correct" spellings to his name.

I started reading this knowing that many people have enjoyed it, but thinking that it would be difficult.  I actually found it to be much a much easier read than I expected.  It is definitely heavy, but not difficult to read.  If you choose to read it, make sure to get a copy with a list of the characters in the front with all the different names they are called.  Once I got into the story, I was able to keep up with the names pretty easily, but you definitely need them at first.

From Wikipedia:

"Crime and Punishment focuses on the mental anguish and moral dilemmas of Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, an impoverished St. Petersburg ex-student who formulates and executes a plan to kill a hated, unscrupulous pawnbroker seemingly for her money, thereby solving his financial problems and at the same time, he argues, ridding the world of an evil worthless parasite."

I found the plot to be gripping, and the cat and mouse game between Raskolnikov and Porfiry Petrovich was very well written.  My copy (the Barnes & Noble classics edition – not the one I pulled from Amazon for this post) has some interesting commentary at the end about this novel's influence on Nietzsche and Freud.  Of course Freud thought it was all a result of daddy issues on the part of the author.

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6 thoughts on “Crime and Punishment

  1. Oh man — the only FD I read was "The Idiot" for a class in collage, which made me feel like one as I was reading it. Today, I couldn't tell you what it was about. It doesn't make me want to dive back in.

  2. Uh oh…This is one I started reading on my own and got lost and gave up. I don't remember how far I got but I remember hating both characters. I'm usually grown up enough to deal with characters I don't like; it's even fun to love-to-hate some.Your suggestion about a list of characters may have been one of the reasons I gave up. I just remember feeling "murky."

  3. LOL – When I say "easy," I mean I didn't have to sit there with a dictionary. There were definitely passages that were tough to slog through. A lot of inner monologues and whatnot. Also, I need more paragraph breaks than he uses. My brain needs a place to breathe for a second or I'll lose track of where I am.

  4. I didn't like the characters either, really. The main character isn't sorry for what he does. He never expresses remorse over taking two lives. Dostoevsky used this to paint atheists as amoral so I certainly had a problem with that. I disagree with most of what he is trying to acheive as far as themes go, but just read as a psychological crime novel, it was good.

  5. When my daughter was doing speech training (she was a broadcast journalist once upon a career) she was told to read Crime and Punishment out loud as a form of training…so I haven't actually "read" the book , more listened to it!

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