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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 It's a trip into darkness, boredom, excitement, frustration.
This book. Wow. It's a monster. It's a behemoth. It's a trip into darkness, boredom, excitement, frustration. I can't say that I loved it and I don't think I can even say that I liked it, there were definitely many times where I hated it. There were just a few moments throughout this book where I really enjoyed what I was reading, the rest to me was what I considered to...
Published 1 month ago by Agostino Scafidi


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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 1000 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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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
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
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Crime and Punishment: Pevear & Volokhonsky Translation (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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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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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
(REAL NAME)   
This review is from: Crime and Punishment: Pevear & Volokhonsky Translation (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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2.0 out of 5 stars It's a trip into darkness, boredom, excitement, frustration., June 2 2014
This book. Wow. It's a monster. It's a behemoth. It's a trip into darkness, boredom, excitement, frustration. I can't say that I loved it and I don't think I can even say that I liked it, there were definitely many times where I hated it. There were just a few moments throughout this book where I really enjoyed what I was reading, the rest to me was what I considered to be just shy of rubbish. Blabbering. Pointless literature.

I admit that this was my first foray into Russian literature. I am not however averse or unfamiliar with challenging writing. For example I have read various 19th century literature, I've read Dickens too, not to mention some Honoré de Balzac. I think I had a bit of a hard time dealing with the pressure that classics can impose on a reader. What I mean by that is if you were to take epics like War and Peace, The Count of Monte Cristo or even Crime and Punishment, there seems to be a consensus out there that these books are "must reads". You simply might look like an ignoramus or something if you dislike or even avoid reading classics such as those, at least that's what I had in mind before delving into this book.

If there is one thing I've taken away from this book, one thing I've truly learned, it's that I will never wonder or feel guilty about putting a book down halfway through ever again. I will never feel like I am missing out if I refuse to read a 1000 page "classic".

I had to force myself to finish Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment. I don't regret doing it because I have this blog post and this personal lesson as a result.

**Copied from my original blog post at http://thehermitrant.blogspot.ca
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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)   
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 A very good story, Jan. 8 2014
By 
John T C (Raleigh, NC) - See all my reviews
(TOP 500 REVIEWER)   
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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Crime and Punishment: Pevear & Volokhonsky Translation
Crime and Punishment: Pevear & Volokhonsky Translation by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Hardcover - May 25 1993)
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