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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the verdict---amazing
I am a high school junior, and was slightly intimidated to receive such a novel to read over this past summer. And, although I got caught up in the fascinating action involving the murder, I did not understand the significance of this kind of existential novel--well I didn't even know what existentialism is, never mind understand the theories of people like Kierkegaard...
Published on Dec 14 1999 by Anne

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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Badly written. Isn't that critque enough?
Virtually every other review says that this book is "the greatest of all time." I'd like to be respectful, but I can't imagine anyone saying this. Please don't take offense.
This book is very badly written. The author was an incredible genius, but that didn't make him a good writer. The main problem is that the book loses whatever momentum it gained...
Published on July 21 2000 by Shantonu


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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars the verdict---amazing, Dec 14 1999
By 
Anne (Arlington, Virginia) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Paperback)
I am a high school junior, and was slightly intimidated to receive such a novel to read over this past summer. And, although I got caught up in the fascinating action involving the murder, I did not understand the significance of this kind of existential novel--well I didn't even know what existentialism is, never mind understand the theories of people like Kierkegaard or Nietzsche.
But now, after fully analyzing this novel over a period of several months, I have come to realize that this book is one of the landmarks in world literature. Not only did it change my life and expand my thinking, but it also gave me insight on the historical perspective of 19th Century Russia. This particular translation (Richard Pevear) was absolutely FANTASTIC, and compares to no other. It is definitely my top recommendation for translations.
This is truly a novel of epic proportions--not exactly bedside table reading. I would say to read at your own risk, but if you do, be sure to relish it as best you can, for once you finish, you will realize that you have read something truly great.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Take the plunge, Sept. 23 2003
By 
Daniel Fineberg (Northridge, California USA) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Hardcover)
One doesn't read "Crime and Punishment", one festers in the brain of Raskolnikov. One feels his disgust when someone enters the room and interrupts his sleep or his thinking, feels the thrill and the disorientation as he commits the murder, feels his fear when he ponders clues left behind, feels his heart race when he's brilliantly interrogated by the detective Porfiry. Most of all one joins in his inner turmoil as he tries work through this new moral code that will back up his crime. His mind is constantly racing in a million different directions, and the effect for the reader is very dizzying. It is really one of the more visceral novels. Go for the Pevear/Volokhonsky translations--they're much smoother to read, and have completely replaced the Garnett translations as the industry standard for Dostoevsky and other Russian books.
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The perils of moral relativism, July 5 2004
By 
Guillermo Maynez (Mexico, Distrito Federal Mexico) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Hardcover)
First be aware that this is not a philosophy book. As every great literary achievement is, it's a book that's hard to classify. Raskolnikov is a young, intelligent, but emotionally unstable young man who has had to quit school for lack of money and a depressive crisis. He seems to be mad at the world for the injustice which prevails in it. During this difficult and sad time, a very dangerous idea starts moving around his mind. There is this old lady pawnbroker, a bad woman who cheats on the desperate people who approach her. She has money she doesn't use for the benefit of his fellow humans. On the other hand, Raskolnikov is sure that he could be a great man and achieve things that would benefit the humankind... if only he had the means to jumpstart his career to glory and fame. From these two thoughts, Raskolnikov begins a road towards rationalizing his potential crime. He poses good questions (how come people who kill a lot of persons are called heroes and achieve fame and governments erect statues to honor them, but poor bastards who kill someone for money to eat are put in prison?) and finds bad answers: some extraordinary people are above the common laws and moral rules that guide the rest of humans. These extraordinary characters can not be subject to those vulgar rules, lest they could not achieve the great things destiny has them in store. So, we get to the crime: Raskolnikov deserves that money to reach greatness, and anyway the woman he will kill is harmful to society. So he goes and kill not only the pawnbroker, but also her good, half-witted sister.
What follows is the truly fascinating story of the aftermath of the crime, with a very clever, wise and interesting police detective playing cat and mouse with Raskolnikov, at the same time his life is crumbling down in guilt, paranoia, and inoportune events happening around him, to his family and friends. The story ends and begins within only a few days. Raskolnikov's mother and sister arrive in Saint Petersburg looking for him. His sister is about to marry an older, egotistic man whom Raskolnikov reads from day one as a future bad husband for his sensible, wise and beautiful sister. Meanwhile, Raskolnikov gets involved in the tragic end of the Marmeladov family. Marmeladov is a drunkard whom Raskolnikov befriends ina low-budget bar, where they have a conversation on morals that will be central to the philosophical background of the story. He dies and leaves her family broke. His wife is very near death from tuberculosis, and the eldest girl has been forced to become a prostitute, in spite of being an angelical and saintly girl.
So events unfold and the logical end arrives. The plot is great and it moves faster and faster, with tension reaching exasperating heights. The book is filled with unforgettable characters: the dark, troubled but in the end good Raskolnikov, a good guy with bad ideas; his mother and sister; the sinister Petrovich, who wants to be adored by the sister; the police detective, a great guy; Sonia, the saintly prostitute; and Svidrigailov, former boss and harasser of Raskolnikov's sister, a man so degenerate, perverse and evil.
Other reviewers are right that Raskolnikov's philosophy is a twisted and evil one, but some go so far as to say that this philosophy is espoused by Dostoevsky himself. I am convinced this is not the case. The novel clearly shows that moral relativism can only conduce to crime, tragedy, death, guilt and... punishment. In the best case, after the crime is committed, there is the hope of redemption through repent and love, as well as by the Christian values and faith. I think there is no doubt that, by every possible standard, this is one of the best pieces of literature ever penned. It has everything a masterpiece must have: a plot that hooks you up right from the start, deep, well-rounded characters. a dark moral and everything tightly knitted together by a master of the craft. Come stay a few days in this hotttest of summers in Petersburg.
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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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4.0 out of 5 stars A Bit Dark, Nov. 12 2013
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This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Hardcover)
This is a Dark novel. I love Fyodor Dostoevsky and this book as well, I found it to be a bit dark but good
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1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Badly written. Isn't that critque enough?, July 21 2000
By 
Shantonu (New York City) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Hardcover)
Virtually every other review says that this book is "the greatest of all time." I'd like to be respectful, but I can't imagine anyone saying this. Please don't take offense.
This book is very badly written. The author was an incredible genius, but that didn't make him a good writer. The main problem is that the book loses whatever momentum it gained by the murder with page after page of needless digression. Dostoevsky is a great philosopher, and that shines through here--he anticipated a lot of Nietzsche (though he would have strongly disagreed with him) and existentialism. This book, like his others, has some great philosophical dialoges, but that does not make a great novel (or even a good one). Karl Gauss, Bobby Fisher, Beethoven, Wittgenstein, Thomas Edison, and Hegel were all geniuses. Would you want to read a novel written by one of these guys? Yet any of them would probably have crafted a better piece of coherent fiction than C & P.
Some think that this is great novel. How can that be if it isn't even marked by decent writing? For example, this book has a completely tacked-on "hollywood" ending. Every professional critic has pointed out that this a major flaw. So that leaves us with a good, angst-filled beginning, a brilliant but ever-so-boring Nietzscheian middle, and a ridiculous "hollywood" ending that sprouts abruptly from mid-air. That doesn't sound like "the greatest novel" to me.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful new translation, April 24 2001
By 
Amy L. (Chicago, Il.) - See all my reviews
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Paperback)
Crime and Punishment centers upon the story of a young Russian student, Raskolnikov, who plots and carries out a brutal murder. However, this is less than a quarter of the story. The rest centers upon his attempts to come to terms with the philosophical and psycological consequences of his act. Aiding, or hindering, him in this endevor are a series of characters from the kind-hearted prostitute Sonia and her drunken father, the unrepentant scoundrel Svidrigailov, Raskolnikov's best friend Razumihin, and the police detective come amateur psychologist Porfiry Petrovich. Though the story develops slowly, with many detours, Raskolnikov's journey through crime and punishment remains gripping until the very last page.
I first encountered Crime and Punishment in the classic translation by Constance Garnett and loved it for Dostoyevsky's careful balance of character and philosophy. Dostoyevsky's genius lies in his ability to create simultaneously a psychological novel and a novel of ideas. Though each character represents a certain philosophy of life, they never become lifeless or stereotyped. Instead, each is a memorably developed and psychologically deep person, who could easily carry a story in their own right. Dostoyevsky's genius is in the perfect counterpoint between conflict of personality and conflict of philosophy between each of these fascinating people. Dostoyevsky also specializes in garnering the reader's interest and sympathy for the most unlikely characters. This is a novel, after all, with an ax murderer as the protagonist.
However, until I read this new translation of Dostoyevsky, I never realized that besides psychologist and philosopher, Dostoyevsky was also a masterful stylist. Pevear and Volokhonsky succeed in faithfully translating the literal meaning of the original Russian, while still capturing the vivid liveliness of Dostoyevsky's prose. The heat of a St. Petersburg summer night fairly radiates off the page in the first part, while his descriptions of Raskolnikov's cramped bedroom gave me claustrophobia.
Admittedly, this is no beach-read thriller. The Russian names can be confusing, and Dostoyevsky's manages to be both dense and long-winded. Nontheless, this is one of the greatest works of fiction ever written that should be read both as a "classic book" and as a gripping psychological exploration of crime.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing, sensational book of still-controversial theme, Aug. 6 2007
By 
Indeuk Kim - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Paperback)
When I first read this book, I was overwhelmed by its morbid
theme. I thought I was also suffering from Raskolnikov's
chaotic, gloomy state of mind. But the theme, 'a sin for a good will',
is still very much controversial. Thought it turned out that Raskolnikov had some error in his theory, we can't help imaginining what if he succeeded committing the perfect crime and really did lots of good deeds in his future life. Though many people think it is still bad to commit a sin, despite its good will, but what about those who don't have much of a choice like Raskonikov?
Also, I liked Sonia's boundless love for Raskolnikov. Lots of suffering is depicted in this book yet it describes how beautiful and magnificent it could be.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A Morality Play, April 29 2004
By 
C M Magee (Chicago, IL United States) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Paperback)
I reacted to the book in a couple of different ways. My first reaction, from almost the very beginning, was that the book felt like a Dickens novel to me. I saw similarities in both the gothic overwrought characters and the lurking shady characters who alternately seemed for or against young Raskolnikov. The friendship between Raskolnikov and Razumikhin, in particular, reminded me of the friendship between Pip and Herbert Pocket in Great Expectations. Other similarities, I think, are structural. Both books were written serially, and as with Dickens, I looked forward to the cliffhanger at the end of each chapter which would ensure that readers would look forward to the next installment. When I read a book like this, it always occurs to me that it's too bad books aren't written that way any more. It seems like it would be a really fun way to read a book. (Now that I think of it, I'm pretty sure that Stephen King has experimented with this in recent years). My other reaction was how psychological and modern the book seemed. I never read this or any other Russian novels in school (not sure how that happened) so I had neither expectations nor preconceptions when I began. The book was, in its own verbose way, a very profound discussion of morality and power. More specifically, I was interested in the relationship between the power of murder and the power of wealth and social class. These themes were buried beneath layers of prose. The book seemed to be divided almost equally between action and Raskolnikov's internal monologue. It was very readable, but occasionally overwhelming. A final observation: the book is filled with events and real people drawn from real life in 1860s St. Petersburg. In the present day, as an established classic, it gives the book a historical context, but I couldn't help but think about how it must have appeared at the time of its publication. In this day and age, writers are often derided for relying too much on current events and pop culture. Critics claim the these books will lose their cultural significance as they become quickly dated. Yet, in C&P, Dostoyevsky's practice of referring to specific scandals and amusements that were the hot topics of conversation at the time serves to cement the book very specifically in a time and place and it manages to make the story feel real and complete. I should also mention that I really enjoyed the particular edition that I read. A multitude of informative notes augment the text, and the translation by Richard Pevear and Larissa Volokhonsky felt inventive and engaging.
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5.0 out of 5 stars A must for all who are really interested in a masterpiece, April 26 2004
By 
Hiram Gomez Pardo (Valencia, Venezuela) - See all my reviews
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This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Hardcover)
Hundred and even kilometers of ink have been spread around articles, conferences and deep essays around the world about that monumental work.
However, there's an aspect that I'd rather to remark. It's well known the deep impact that the russian literature of the XIX century shocked all the world. The presence of Pushkin, Gogol, Tolstoi and this giant Fedor Dostoievsvki signed and even made grow up the russian character to a peak that literally surpased all the expectatives.
In my opinion, Crime and Punishment establishes one of the starting point of the existencialist movement years after. Let's consider, by example that Albert Camus' brilliant work named "The happy death" , and clearly you'll feel in the ten first pages the presence of the fate struggling all the performers. Mersault is in fact a far descendent of the mean character in Crime.
A ruman writer (Virgil Gheorghiou) told once in one of his works that amazing thought:"The sin hurts much more in the memory than in the flesh" .
And this is the clue to understand the sense of loss, the feeling of desperation, the loneliness in all its crude nakedness, the shame weights much more in his mind that in the rules that his crime implies. In the case of Mersault in Camus'work, the victim follows what you might consider like a suggested homicide . In other words the fear to commit suicide seems to permeate the atmosphere in all the work.
Dostoievski makes us drowning with all these characters in an ocean of deep implications, there's no doubt in the punishement; but Dostoievski makes a moral crossroad and carries by the dark shadows of this hell so particularly russian. Consider , by example the paintings of Blockin, the sense of horror in the most remarkable symphonies of Shostakovich, the sinister phantoms of Rachmaninov in his Symphonic dances. The religion, the fact you can't ignore . all the political opression all along so many centuries, have created a human being very special in the western tradition. And all these sociological aspects that depicts a soul , the sense of nosthalgia that so well defined oncethe celebrated filmaker Andrei Tarkovski (1932-1986), when he was forced to leave URSS in 1979 whe he showed his work Stalker. Remeber that his following issue was titled Nosthalghia ( and this is not a mere casuality).
When you read this book, consider you are reading more than book, you are getting close to the soul and the fears of the russian people. May be you (like me) are able to understand deeper than any essay the essential facets of this nation, his glory and his disgraces.
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Crime and Punishment
Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Hardcover - May 25 1993)
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