Kata's Reviews > Crime and Punishment

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
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's review
Jun 18, 12

it was amazing
Read from April 19 to May 21, 2012

Dostoyevsky is ideal for both the casual reader and the ardent devotees of Russian classics. Really he is!

Dostoyevsky is well recognize as a literary genius. Some devote themselves to studying his works their entire life. In varying degrees of devotion, there are readers who enjoy him in periodic doses. I'm that type of reader. I impose long intervals between digesting Dostoyevsky's novels so as to stretch his works across the length of my literary life. Then there is the casual reader of novels. The person who maybe reads ten books a year. Often these readers are afraid to pick up a Russian novel. But a reader should never doubt their ability to understand or enjoy a book simply based on the clout it carries. A book isn't a challenge, unless you make it one. A book can be enjoyable on the most basic level or a lengthy literary dissection. It is the reader's choice. That's why I feel Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment is a Russian classic for every type of reader.

I hesitated to write a review on this book because I feel there should be a solid reason for other Goodreads members to seek out ANOTHER book review for this novel. But maybe this review will appeal to the reader who fears diving into a Russian classic. Crime and Punishment has so many layers that it can enthrall any type of reader. Dostoyevsky wrote for everyone. It is my hope that this review will get one person to take the leap and try a little classic Russian. Read a chapter a night with some vodka. Feel your inner Russian grow strong no matter what type of reader you are.

Let's talk about the book now:

Raskolnikov is the main character and the plot revolves around his life, his decisions, his acquaintances and family. He is an intelligent man, a former student, who lives in a filthy tiny apartment in St. Petersburg. He is someone who has become extremely down on his luck so to speak. And because of his unfortunate circumstances, his judgment becomes poor and his actions become dangerous.

***key plot topic - avoid if necessary***
Raskolnikov conceives a plot to murder a woman for minimal monetary gain. Though he conceives the plot as flawless, he ends up murdering not just the one woman he intended, but another. From this point forward in the novel his the poor judgment takes a firm hold of him and madness starts to settle in. He becomes physically sick from the stress and circumstance.
***end plot topic***

Raskolnikov living with the secreted knowledge of his actions attempts to justify them. He lectures on humanity and at the same time he is giving reason to his recent behavior. He categorizes mankind by saying there is the first category: men who are conservative and law abiding, they love to be controlled. Then the second category: men who defy the law, they are destroyers, but they cause progress. He theorizes that both types of men are relative and varied, but what Raskolnikov truly contemplates is whether there are men who can and should live above the law (the men of the second category). Do these men have the right to kill others? He speaks of many famous men of the past who he believes were of the second category and that without them transgressing, the world would not have moved forward. In essence, Raskolinkov believes men of the first category are merely ordinary. Those of the second category are extraordinary. He is disillusioned and becomes grandiose while contemplating these two categories of man. Furthermore, Raskolnikov believes firmly that he is of the second category of man. And as his mind runs with these theories, he believes that pain and suffering are always inevitable for a man with a large intelligence and a deep heart. "The really great men, must, I think, have great sadness." Raskolinkov is building himself up bigger and bigger while internally he is falling apart living with the secreted knowledge of his actions. He is like a child justifying his behavior when he well knows full well of his transgression. Through the entire novel he carries about this disillusionment of his person. It is infrequent that Raskolnikov totters on along the edges of sanity. After much time has passed, his tottering on the brink of potential sanity, he finally understands that he broke the law. And that even though he is in the second category of man that there are consequences for his actions. He pulls away from his prior grandiosity and states that, "Of course, in that case many of the benefactors of mankind who snatched power for themselves instead of inheriting it ought to have been punished at their first steps." It is then he falls trepidly into the first category of man.

Dostoevsky is a master who can intertwine layers of sociological, psychological and theological matters constantly page after page in every novel. I can understand how this could overwhelm a casual reader but it shouldn't because the reader has the choice to absorb whatever they choose in a Dostoevsky novel. It's like swimming in the ocean. You can choose to stay close to the shoreline or swim far out where the water is deep. It is the reader's choice what to draw and share with others from a novel.
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Quotes Kata Liked

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“Pain and suffering are always inevitable for a large intelligence and a deep heart. The really great men must, I think, have great sadness on earth.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

Fyodor Dostoyevsky
“We sometimes encounter people, even perfect strangers, who begin to interest us at first sight, somehow suddenly, all at once, before a word has been spoken.”
Fyodor Dostoyevsky, Crime and Punishment

Reading Progress

05/02/2012 page 78
05/06/2012 page 147
33.0% 4 comments
05/15/2012 page 306
68.0% "Part 5 Chapter 2

I'm sipping this book slowly but man alive does it taste good."
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Comments (showing 1-3 of 3) (3 new)

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John Try this print version, ISBN 1566194326, of Crime And Punishment to reference page numbers against the Audible version. It is listed on Amazon, with the "look inside" feature.

message 2: by Victor (new)

Victor Great review! I'm sold

Arnie An excellent review. I agree this novel can (and should) be read by everyone. It's Dostoyevsky's most accessible novel. You can enjoy it on a simple plot level or, like some of us, ruminate about it for the rest of your life.

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