Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky

I have come to find that the mention of Crime and Punishment tends to conjure up many negative ideas in the minds of those who have not read it. Although the majority of people revere it as is a classic piece of literature and respect Dostoevsky, they still tend to see it as a book that is long, dull and incredibly difficult to read.

However, I assure you that these ideas are unfounded misconceptions. Firstly, Crime and Punishment is quite a light weight novel at around 300 pages. Secondly, the modern translations are very good and the language, style and dialect are all easy to follow. And finally, although the novel was written in 1865, it is incredibly enthralling.

Ok, the story may not be an orgy of fast paced chases, thrilling gun fights or huge explosions, but from the very first page it is filled with murder, theft and deceit. From the moment it begins the reader is plunged head first into the disturbed mind of Raskolnikov, a former student who has convinced himself that he is capable of, and even worthy of, murder.

Although poor, unemployed and without great heritage, Raskolnikov believes himself to be a great man and even Napoleon like in intelligence and stature. He has therefore convinced himself that he can kill without remorse or even punishment.

Suddenly, the murder is committed and Raskolnikov is away with the old woman’s money and no feeling of guilt. However, before long there is a police officer sniffing around and a growing voice in Raskolnikov that is tearing at his soul with feelings of remorse and regret.

The novel is not just a great story of cat and mouse between a failed genius and a brilliant officer, but also a chilling insight into a disturbed mind, capable of so much yet lost in sea of paranoia, anguish and ultimately, guilt.

Gritty, real and incredibly dark, Crime and Punishment is one of Dostoevsky’s greatest novels and true literary masterpiece.

6 Comments

Filed under 1001 Books, Crime

6 responses to “Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoevsky

  1. Excellent review. I’ve always thought of Crime and Punishment as a really difficult book – it’s used in books and TV as the cliche of the ultimate difficult book to read, showing how intellectual (or rather trying to be intellectual) you are. You’ve brought it back down to earth, so thank you!

    Are you buying all the books in the 1001 series, or loaning them? Just wondering how many bookshelves you’d have to have at the end of all this! 😀

    • I find it funny how many people tend to lump Dostoevsky into the same category of weighty boring novels when his writing is anything but–there tends to be at least one murder per novel and a great deal of scandal. He’s never managed to be boring to me. I think part of it is that f**ked up is the only way to describe Dostoevsky’s personal life. After getting involved with a group of socialists, he was arrested and sentenced to death. The tsar decided to change the sentence once Dostoevsky was already in front of the firing squad. That sort of experience is bound to make one a bit nuts.

  2. Thanks for the great comments, I’m glad to see some people who don’t have the opinion that he is dull and boring!

    Dostoevsky was a complete nut job, what I think I love the most about Crime and Punishment is that he never actually planed to write it! He owed so much debt that he agreed to write it as compensation for money owed!

    It’s brilliant that something so great came out of such a horrible situation.

  3. Angelina

    Good work on the review. It actually makes me want to read the book! Looking forward to your next blog post 🙂

  4. Steph, sorry I forgot to answer your question!

    Yes, I am buying each book on the list, to go alongside the hundreds of books I already own! If fact I have just bought 3 more of the list today; Do Androids Dream of Electric Sheep, Foundation and The Midwich Cuckoos (on a bit of a Sci-Fi kick at the mo).

    I will need a big old house with a lot of bookshelves by the end of this! 🙂

  5. Pingback: Notes From The Underground – Fyodor Dostoevsky | 1001bookstoreadbeforeyoudie

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