Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Review: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Former student Raskolnikov commits a crime and then goes through a lot of psychological melodrama as punishment.

I’d been meaning to read this one forever. I loved THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV and NOTES FROM THE UNDERGROUND back when I read them a decade ago. I actually thought, for some reason, that this one was much more about someone serving a sentence in Siberia, so I was surprised when the novel just went on and on with Rasky trying not to incriminate himself, his mental breakdowns, and his long (looooong) conversations with various people including his mother, his sister, the nasty man his sister is engaged to, his best friend, a random drunk he meets in a bar, random drunk’s daughter, and a handful of policemen. Not that all that wasn’t interesting… it was. It just wasn’t what I expected.

It’s worth a read just for Dostoevsky’s keen insight into human nature and his masterful use of language that makes you feel like you yourself have entered Rasky’s mind to feel the same nervousness and fear he does. Not for the impatient reader, but for those who long to be intellectually engaged.

21 comments:

brizmus said...

I loved Notes from Underground, but for some reason haven't been inspired to read anything else sense. Crime and Punishment just looks so long and intense.

Jeane said...

I've always been afraid of this book. It's so long and although my father has a copy- read and recommended well- I've never been brave enough to pick it up! Sounds quite different from what I had surmised, too.

MichieBee said...

I finally got around to reading this last year and really enjoyed it too. I can't wait to get around to reading most of his other works. :)))

Alea said...

Didn't like this when I read it as a senior in high school. Was helpful that the teacher gave us a character list though, since they have a lot of overlapping names. Guess who also "had to read it" again Freshman year of college too! I had taken such good notes the first time I didn't even bother re-reading it!

Kathleen said...

Well I've not managed to read this one myself but based on your review it can probably wait a bit longer. I'm not feeling particularly patient this time of year!

Aarti said...

I LOVE this book but haven't read any of his others. Everyone seems to like Notes from the Underground so maybe I'll look into that one.

Michelle said...

I read Crime and Punishment in high school and liked it but wish now I wish I'd read it as an adult. I can appreciate the Russians a little more now.

If you like Dostoevsky, can I recommend The Double? It's really short, but amazing. I loved it so much more than Notes from Underground and Crime and Punishment (although I enjoyed those).

Staci said...

I'm not so sure that I want to be intellectually challenged!!! But i won't entirely rule out a book by this author.

Rhiannon Hart said...

I can be an impatient reader, but I do like a challenge. It's on my TBR "Life" list, ie. I plan to get to it some time in the next 60 years!

bermudaonion said...

This may not be me - I am impatient and don't have much intellect to challenge these days. I applaud you for reading it, though.

J.T. Oldfield said...

I'll read this someday when I can really commit to it.

ilonga said...

I read Crime and Punishment (Spanish version) in college and I really liked :)

Liviania said...

I really want to read this. I lack experience with the major Russian authors.

Jeanne said...

I read this in the winter, as I read most Russian novels. There's something about it that makes them better; I recommend it!

Steve said...

I think The Idiot is a better story with a lot of interesting characters. I can't believe you are going to be at our house tomorrow! SOOOOOOO excited!

Ladytink_534 said...

This is one of those books that has always intimidated me. Glad you enjoyed it though!

Serena said...

I'm glad you enjoyed this book. I haven't read it in ages, but remember enjoying this one. For some reason Brothers Karamazov didn't strike the same cord with me, but Notes from the Underground was also good.

Amy said...

This is quite different but Brothers Karamazov but so good in a different way. I took my time with it and really enjoyed it but it does require patience. I think it's interesting that some of the ideas and questions still apply to our society today.

Marie said...

I loved this book. I read it in high school and just loved it. It helped set me on my lifelong love of Russian literature. THanks for talking about it!

Zibilee said...

I don't have this book in my collection, but I really, really want to read it. I love long, foreign classics and I think this would be a perfect read for me. Thanks for the awesome review, I haven't seen this one reviewed very often.

Anna said...

I really wanted to like Brothers Karamazov, but I got 60 pages into the book and realized I was doing more sleeping than reading. It was tortuous. I've heard good things about Crime and Punishment, so one day, if I ever get past my experience with the Karamazov book, I might give this one a try.

--Anna
Diary of an Eccentric