Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky
If you require a novel that is plot driven this novel is not for you. However, if you enjoy a novel with complex characters that delve into what motivates those characters this is the book for you.
Often our view of a murderer is one of absolutes. He/she is 1) purely evil, 2) pushed to commit the act, 3) temporarily insane, 4) driven to do it for survival, 5) or comes from a background that does not allow him/her to discern right from wrong. Dostoyevsky doesn't allow us off that easy. Raskolnikov does not fit tightly into any of those categories. He is well loved by family and friend, and although he commits a grusome, cold-blooded, and well thought out murder in the opening of the book, Raskolnikov makes sacrifices for those who are in need. The recipients of his good deeds are often those with whom he has little history.
So why does Raskolnikov commit the murder? Dostoyevsky never provides concrete evidence to that end only suggestions
As stated above there is not a lot happening in the plot. Crime and Punishment is more about the mind of a complex individual. There are some wonderful subplots as well. The storyline of Sonya and Dounia add a lot to the reader's experience. Dostoyevsky has a talent for vividly enacting a scene. One of my favorite scenes is when Raskolnikov "confesses" to Zametov. I can just see it on the big screen.
People are often intidmiated by Russian Lit. There is no need to be. This is an excellent read. I can see where the references to characters could throw some. Characters are often referred to by various names. My suggestion is to pay attention to the uniqueness of each character. You will begin to identify each by his or her characteristics.
When you read reviews or commentaries on this book most attention is paid to Raskolnikov. However, I really loved Razumihin. Dostoyevsky also creates a delicious villain in Petrovitch.
posted 3 years ago. ( permalink )