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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lengthy but amusing
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a novel that takes a lot of dedication to read because of its length, but I found it to be a satisfying experience. The story isn't like any other I have ever read. The beginning lures you into reading it, and after a while you want to know how the protagonist will change. What I found at first to be confusing were the some of...
Published on Jan. 17 2010 by Sam

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2.0 out of 5 stars Morose and ultimately dull
I suppose a novel has stood the test of time to be considered a classic, but I found this novel so utterly depressing that I struggled through it. I'm wondering if there is a classic Russian tale that is ever anything but morose. If the protagonist was even slightly empathy-arousing I could understand the psychological aspect better, but he wasn't. Everything about this...
Published 14 months ago by Poetkitty


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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Lengthy but amusing, Jan. 17 2010
By 
Sam (British Columbia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Paperback)
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky is a novel that takes a lot of dedication to read because of its length, but I found it to be a satisfying experience. The story isn't like any other I have ever read. The beginning lures you into reading it, and after a while you want to know how the protagonist will change. What I found at first to be confusing were the some of the many different characters that were introduced not only had one name, but had a nickname too, which were used quite often. Constance Garnett did an excellent job in translating; I read the Wordsworth Classics edition of Crime and Punishment.

The most interesting part of this novel, I found, was when Raskolnikov, the protagonist, spoke to another about the article he had written some months prior. This argument seemed to be the heart of the novel. "[A]ll men are divided into "ordinary" and "extraordinary". Ordinary men have to live in submission, have no right to transgress the law, because ... they are ordinary. But extraordinary men have a right to commit any crime and to transgress the law in any way, just because they are extraordinary." (221) By reading that, you can imagine what category Raskolnikov wanted to be a part of.

The story commences with Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov, also called Rodya, sneaking out of the room that he rents, because he is "hopelessly in debt to his landlady..." He used to be a student and he used to give lessons to earn some money, but he found himself out of work, and the only pair of clothes he had became too worn out to get any respectable employment. His mother had not sent him money recently because he had her own expenses to take care of.

Without money, Raskolnikov has been starving himself, and as a result is suffering from delusions and strange thoughts, and becomes easily irritable.

While sitting at a restaurant one day, he overhears a conversation between two men, speaking of a pawnbroker who is so stingy that she buys their items at too low of a price. One man says that he would be doing everyone a favour by killing that old lady, the pawnbroker. But he wouldn't actually do it, he concluded. Raskolnikov, however, was very touched by the conversation of the pawnbroker who he has been going to for money. He starts imagining how he would like to kill her in his mind, and goes about trying to initiate his plans.

How will Raskolnikov's life take a sudden turn as a result of his plans? What punishment must he bear because of his crime?

"[A]n extraordinary man has the right - that is not an official right, but an inner right - to decide in his own conscience to overstep . . . certain obstacles, and only in case it is essential for the practical fulfilment of his idea (sometimes, perhaps, of benefit to the whole of humanity). ... if the discoveries of Kepler and Newton could not have been made known except by sacrificing the lives of one, a dozen, a hundred, or more men, Newton would have had the right, would indeed have been in duty bound . . . to eliminate the dozen or the hundred men for the sake of making discoveries his known to the whole of humanity. But it does not follow that Newton had a right to murder people right and left and to stead every day in the market. ... [L]egislators and leaders of men, such as Lycurgus, Solon, Mahomet, Napoleon, and so on, were all without exception criminals, from the very fact that, making new law, they transgressed the ancient one, handed down from their ancestors and held sacred by the people, and they did not stop short at bloodshed either, if that bloodshed - often of innocent persons fighting bravely in defence of ancient law - were of use of their cause. It's remarkable, in fact, that the majority, indeed, of these benefactors and leaders of humanity were guilty of terrible carnage." (222)
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars One of the greatest novels of all time, Sept. 30 2001
By 
Robert Stotzky (Gothenburg, Sweden) - See all my reviews
I first started reading this novel when I was 12 years old. I only got through the first 50 or so pages before putting the book down. Now, another 12 years down the line, I picked it up again, and this time I didn't let go.
Fyodor Dostoevsky's "Crime and Punishment" is simply one of - if not *the* best novel I have ever read. Dostoevsky is the master of portraying characters in a believable way; when you're reading the book you feel as though you are in the room with Rodja, Dunja, Razumichin and Luzjin. It's like stepping into a time-machine set for pre-revolution Russia.
The plot revolves around Rodion "Rodja" Romanovitj Raskolnikov, a poor ex-student who murders an old woman in the belief that he's doing it for the good of man. This happens in the first part of the book; in the rest of the book we follow Rodja in his feverish nightmare, walking the streets of Petersburg.
The book is interesting not only because of it's great entertainment value, but even more so because of the philosophical questions it asks. The late great Ayn Rand was also a master of this type of novel. With the exception of "Crime and Punsihment," the only novel I have read where you really feel that the characters are so real is Rand's "Atlas Shrugged."
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A PSYCHOLOGICAL MASTERPEACE!!!, Aug. 17 2003
By 
This is a little bit heavy book as a size,but the expereance is unforgettable.All caracters in the book are strange and in the same time AWFULLY real.Every heroe has his own micro world.An amazing caracter gallery!!!I have seen the movie version of Hallmark.What a shame!!!One of the greatest books of all times presented like a stupid soap opera.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars one of my favorite books., Aug. 28 2004
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Audio CD)
I'm not fantastically well-read, but to imply that this book is somehow inferior (as one review has), because it makes use of such 'embarassingly conventional' techniques as PLOT, is kinda arrogant.
'Crime and punishment' is able to integrate the readers' logic with the emotive as a way to illuminate his philosophical preoccupations which are by no means trite. (And anyways, for Dostoevesky's time, the style of writing is far less elaborate than, say...Tolstoy or Dickens).
You can read this as simply a thrilling crime drama, but more than that, it delivers an essay on meaning in modernity. You may scoff at its end implications ( by all means, please do), but i believe it was written by a refined artistic mind--no post-modern cynic could hope to equal such an achievement. ever... so filled with smug contempt that the Literary Snob is incapable of producing anything with sincerity and truth.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A very good story, Jan. 8 2014
By 
John T C (Raleigh, NC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Paperback)
Dostoyevsky's Crime and Punishment is the first classic detective story. But that is not even where it excels. With the Brothers Karamazov, it elevated Dostoyevsky to a mega writer when it comes to dissecting the mind and soul of characters for the readers. It is a great book of psychology. While it competes with Anna Karenina as the most widely read 19th century Russian novel in the English-speaking world, it is judged by many to be superior in its depth and lessons. The book's hero exemplifies all young ideologues who are wrestling with a new idea which they think can elevate them to the levels of great historic figures in their initial steps towards greatness. Often, a barrier has to be crossed which takes the potential legendary figure into an irreversible course. In Crime and Punishment, Raskolnikov who is the hero is a poor, intelligent and thoughtful student who is convinced that he has a mission for the advancement of mankind. He convinces himself that the mission has to start with him crossing over to greatness by robbing and killing an old woman, a pawnbroker, whose death, he had convinced himself would do the world more good than harm. This conviction is based on his judgment that she cheats her clients and holds money that could be used for humanity. He then commits the murder, but is forced to kill the pitiful Elizabetha, the landlady's sister. The novel begins its twists and turns after these murders, with the introduction of the cunning detective who gets to investigate the murder and makes Raskolnikov his principal suspect. Raskolnikov gets to meet the destitute Marmeladovs through the alcoholic father, and is distraught by the plight of his consumptive mother, her three young children, and Sonya-Marmeladov's eighteen-year old daughter who is forced into prostitution in order to support the family.

By doing a rich psychology development of his characters, Dostoyevsky made his characters more complexly human, yet reachable. Sonya emerges as a saintly figure who sins for the sakes of those she loves , and who is the mirror through which the so-called devilish characters are redeemed. The plot is rich, deep, enjoyable and action-packed; and the pace is fast and engaging. The overriding strength of the story is the conflict in Raskolnikov's soul, a conflict which began in his quest to be the "Extraordinary Man" like Napoleon, by stepping over the basic bounds of morality by committing murder. Conflict in the soul is a rich theme which I also saw in the story The Union Muzhik. That conflict in his soul brought out the rich ideas, discussions and emotions from the characters that interacted with him.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Must read!, Oct. 30 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Paperback)
This book is a MUST read what ever background you are comming from, especially if you are Russian! :P

Good book, came in good condition!
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5.0 out of 5 stars Good Service, Feb. 18 2013
Verified Purchase(What's this?)
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Paperback)
Book was in good condition and delivery was as promised. I have not read it yet but considering the authours its reputation, I am looking forward to it.
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2.0 out of 5 stars Morose and ultimately dull, Feb. 1 2013
By 
Poetkitty (Victoria, British Columbia) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Paperback)
I suppose a novel has stood the test of time to be considered a classic, but I found this novel so utterly depressing that I struggled through it. I'm wondering if there is a classic Russian tale that is ever anything but morose. If the protagonist was even slightly empathy-arousing I could understand the psychological aspect better, but he wasn't. Everything about this story was dirty, poverty stricken, and depressing. Most of the characters seemed unbelievably coarse to modern and western eyes.I forced myself to get through this so I could say I've read it, but it wasn't enjoyable, uplifting or even deliciously sad...
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5.0 out of 5 stars Exceptional Work, March 6 2001
By 
I. Schmidt (nyc) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
If Dostoevsky and Tolstoy are considered to be the best of novelists (and they are, by many), Crime and Punishment may thereby be considered one of the greatest literary works, as it substantiated Dostoevsky's claim that he was a great writer (beyond Poor Folk), contrary to what many critics of the time had to say. Common criticism cites flawed style or technique, even claims that Dostoevsky couldn't realize the art he was creating (and so could not have been a real artist). It is for the most part undisputed, however, that Crime and Punishment remains the greatest of psychological novels. It appeals to the reader on a personal level-- time and time again the concept of one "becoming Raskolnikov" is seen in criticism. In my personal experience, I can certainly testify to this. I read the first two parts of the novel on a train from Cologne to Stuttgart, and on stepping off the train, I felt such a connection with Raskolnikov that I was paranoid of being caught by the police for the murder of the old pawnbroker. I was forced to constantly remind myself "it's just a book". But is it really? Does not the ability of Dostoevsky to influence us this greatly constitute something more than just words on paper? I would encourage anyone to read the book and see for themselves.
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8 of 11 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars IMO please avoid this fine translator: Constance Garnett, July 14 2004
By 
A_2007_reader (Vladivostok, Russia) - See all my reviews
Listen carefully: when you read a work translated, the translator makes a big difference. Constance Garnett is a fine translator, but she tends to literally translate (not literal as in a machine translation, but rather, so no word is lost). This tends to make the book wordy and grates on many people's nerves (not just mine--read the other reviews here)
CAVEAT EMPTOR. You have been warned. A better, more modern translator might be: Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky.
And as they say in Russian: "If you don't believe it, take it as a fairy tale" (translated).
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Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Paperback - Aug. 22 2001)
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