A Goodreads user
A Goodreads user asked:

hi, can anyone tell me if this book is difficult to read? i mean difficult as in the frames of reference because of its age? i would love to read it but i read tale of two cities and had to keep reading lines over again which i didnt enjoy, i could read it but i like a book to flow for me to be able to enjoy it.

To answer questions about Crime and Punishment, please sign up.
Maryana Hello, I wouldn't say so, actually I think it's one of Dostoevsky's "lightest" novels and a good starting point for exploring this writer's works and Russian literature in general. If you like psychological novels, you would certainly enjoy this one! At least it's worth a try
Tamara Di Marco The first 100 pages are a little hard to go through, but after the murder it becomes really engaging. Just get through the first 100 pages and then you are going to love it!
Thoughtdome225 The translation I am reading at the moment is David McDuff, and this is a very easy read, 99% of the time reading almost like a modern novel (although there is one scene where a character rambles on about fashion for a page like Patrick Bateman). Overall, though, not difficult at all. I too found "A Tale of Two Cities" very dense and difficult, but this not at all so.
Slaim96 My mother tongue is not English, and I found this story very easy to read and follow. I found it even easier than Dan Brown's novels. The only difficulty was all those Russian name
Kurt Here is a tip for other english readers feeling challenged by the long russian names. Modify all those names with short nicknames, the novel is then very manageable and I did not find it at all difficult. If your e-reader supports doing search and replace, mine does (Moon reader) took only moments to do the replacement.
Murgatroyd I was surprised by how smoothly this book flowed.
Ryan I know what you mean. Dickens tends to use long sentences at times. I think Dostoevsky's writing style is easier to follow. It's a great story and very enjoyable read.
RJ Deeds If you like Dickens, I think you will like it. The one thing I found initially difficult was that same characters are called by different names at times. You soon get used to it, though, as Dostoevsky, helpfully points out what each character has done before in each new section of the book.
Holly What translation you choose will make a difference on how difficult or easy it will be to read. I've been reading the pevear and volokhonsky translation and it's plenty easy. Russian names will be a pain no matter what translation you read. Way easier than Dickens. I really struggled with Dickens, I loved great expectations but found tale of two cities difficult to read.
Guang Bright The only problem is long Russian's name.
Blanche Krakowski I just started and I find the Russian names difficult to remember. I hate having to go back a page or two to remind myself who is who. I will keep reading because it is a classic and I ought to read it.
Nate The only difficulty I had was with all the names -- especially as some characters will "disappear" for 100 pages, before coming back into the story. Personally, I googled/bookmarked a list of characters, which unfortunately included some spoilers. I'd recommend writing all the names on a bookmark as you read. (Also, cause its annoying to look at your phone when immersed in a book like this).
Alberto Among his works, this is not the most complex one. Karamazov Brohters is way more complex and structured. However if you're looking for something simple to read, of course Dostoevskij (Italian spell) isn't anyone's first choice. But by and large this particular book is not what I'd define a complicated reading. Also, plots are not really the point with Dostoevskij: you could skip pages (which i do not recommend) and still find valuable insights in his prose. I say this to mean Dostoevskij is one of those authors who seem to use plots as a proxy for personal meditations. I might suggest "Notes from the Underground": shorter, a bit more complex to read, but might give you a better grasp of what Dostoevskij is about.
Richard I think you will find this book pretty straight-forward and easy to follow. As for A Tale of Two Cities, if that is the only Dickens book you have read, you should know it's not him at his very best. You should read Great Expectations or David Copperfield, and for my money, his very best, is Bleak House.
Hope Books like this are always difficult to get into. I personally enjoyed the deeper theme's in this book. However, I never even held it in my hand, I got the free audiobook off LibriVox, there are a few different versions(version 3 is best), I listened to the whole thing and found I could take it in way better. When I read myself I skim too much and cannot stop, so audiobooks are the way for me
Birdie Duplessis It's way better than tale of two cities. It's been awhile since I've read it, my memory is that there may be some archaic language but in context as my memory serves me it makes sense.
Dylan Rasch Absolutely not at all. Get the Magarshack translation. I guarantee this book will speak to you
Sofija T It is hard in terms of the storyline in my opinion, everything in the book is pretty dark, there are no nice places and nice happenings, and besides that, it was really hard to read those parts where you get into the Raskolnikov' s mind. But as for the language and age, I think it's easy.
Sathwik A I don't wanna tell you some spoilers to make you read this book. But let me tell one sure thing. If you like 2nd chapter of first Part, you''ll love this book else this book may bore you with slow pace.
This book is for those who like character buildup more than story. No surprises or twists can compete with how Fyodor built these characters in this book.
I'm currently in 3rd part of the book and I have to tell you that I just don't want this book to end. I can read this forever. Only few books can create this kind of bond with readers.
Even after 150 year, this book is a gem. It's hard to find a book of this kind today. Maybe, age of this book also helped me to stick on with this. There is nothing outdated if it comes to human emotions and struggle. Author built his own unique style of narration which is so satisfying to read.
Aditya Shiledar The beginning is a bit slow and the second chapter can put you off, at least it did me; but the rest of the book flows like magic. You won't have to keep remembering the name of the characters, the incidents, and so on, like in Tolstoy. It flows on nicely, you'll enjoy it.
Bryan Wendorf I found it very easy to read. The quality of the translation matters of course. I'm reading the Penguin Classics Deluxe Edition translated by Oliver Ready and find it very easy to follow.
Alchemist Im at the beginig,but even now i can notice that its readly
Vincent Murphy I assume you maybe might have read this by now? Would go along with the majority of comments here and say Crime and Punishment is well worth reading and not at all difficult once you get familiar with the naming system (most editions will have an index of names you can refer to). Dostoyevsky is a truly great writer and the way he brings the characters and St Petersburg to life is brilliant.
Rich Uncle Pennybags Any recent translation is gonna be larded with footnotes explaining everything that you might have missed.
aspergersaurus Quite depressing at times, but definitely worth it
D. Vernet I agree with the comment before that it is Dostoevsky’s "lightest" novel. I read in two days when I was 15.
BizyMom229 Funny the comments. Of all the English lit I had to read in school, Tale of Two Cities was one I actually liked. Crime & Punishment for me was complete and utter torture. But even modern books, if they go into too much detail about the surroundings, etc. (such as many historical fiction) I get impatient. So maybe it's just how I think and my impatient nature.
Liviana crime and punishment is incredibly relevant and relatable for a modern audience.

Dostoyevsky identifies what is perennial about human kind.

He has a perfect description (and criticism of) the modern day hipster and his protagonist's depression is familiar to anyone who has ever felt low.

its also the Real greatest love story every told.
Najup its enjoyable and not difficult to read
Tanvi yes this book is much easier to read than many other classic fictions. I agree its good to start with.
Jimena Morle No, it´s not so difficult, but try to read it everyday.
Image for Crime and Punishment
Rate this book
Clear rating

About Goodreads Q&A

Ask and answer questions about books!

You can pose questions to the Goodreads community with Reader Q&A, or ask your favorite author a question with Ask the Author.

See Featured Authors Answering Questions

Learn more