Saturday, August 21, 2021

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky

'One death, in exchange for thousands of lives - it's simple arithmetic!'

A new translation of Dostoevsky's epic masterpiece, Crime and Punishment (1866). 

The impoverished student Raskolnikov decides to free himself from debt by killing an old moneylender, an act he sees as elevating himself above conventional morality. Like Napoleon he will assert his will and his crime will be justified by its elimination of 'vermin' for the sake of the greater good. 

But Raskolnikov is torn apart by fear, guilt, and a growing conscience under the influence of his love for Sonya. Meanwhile the police detective Porfiry is on his trial.

It is a powerfully psychological novel, in which the St Petersburg setting, Dostoevsky's own circumstances, and contemporary social problems all play their part. 

Kindle Edition, 544 pages
Published September 1st 2017 
by Oxford University Press (first published 1866)
3.5/5 stars

Sometimes it's good to read out of ones comfort zone.  Such is the case with Crime and Punishment. In my endeavour to read more classics our newly created Family Book Club started with this one.

I'll confess to struggling a few times just because I'm not used to the writing of that era. Plus it took me 3 tries before I found a translation and format to my liking.

Raskolnikov has done the unthinkable and the repercussions almost destroy him (or do they?).  I enjoyed reading what life was like, how they lived and just how society functioned in 1860's Russia. On one hand it's a slow paced story when compared to contemporary novels but the slow pacing worked to really get into Raskolnikov's head.

While I wouldn't have picked this book up myself, I'm glad I read it. Also happy to move another book off my TBR shelf to my READ one. 

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