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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine prospect
Undoubtedly this is a remarkable book and not at all what I was expecting as I first picked it up. I would recommend that the reader cast aside any preconceived ideas about this author and about the mid-Victorian era in which his story takes place, because this book really does have a very modern feel and a very accessible and easy prose and dialogue.

The...
Published on 29 April 2005 by SAP

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14 of 15 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Bad translation
This is a good novel but an appalling translation. The defective language ranges from the grammatically incorrect to the virtually incomprehensible (I only found out what the question "Do you funk the police office?" was supposed to mean when I checked another edition). More generally, it is a jarring and clumsy read. By all means buy Crime and Punishment, but if you...
Published on 15 April 2007 by M. Scully


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78 of 80 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fine prospect, 29 April 2005
By 
SAP "Steba" - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)   
Undoubtedly this is a remarkable book and not at all what I was expecting as I first picked it up. I would recommend that the reader cast aside any preconceived ideas about this author and about the mid-Victorian era in which his story takes place, because this book really does have a very modern feel and a very accessible and easy prose and dialogue.

The reader first joins the tale as the morose, dejected down-and-out and former student Raskolnikov contemplates, and is inexorably drawn towards and fixated by the idea of, murdering an old lady pawnbroker with whom he has had business. It only becomes clear later exactly why he did so, and even then his justifications are misguided and muddled in his own mind and essentially some flight of fancy about the permissibility of any behaviour for the greater good - a means to an end, as it were.

But what is most fascinating is not the crime itself or the murderer's fate, but how his crime then comes to obsess him until he can stand it no longer and has been defeated by his own inner struggle with his conscience, which has been forever tormenting him. The dual between Porfiry Petrovich, the police investigator, and Raskolnikov and the mind games and double bluffs that are played on both sides as our antihero tries to evade detection is particularly intriguing. The suspense is palpable.

All in all this is a pretty bleak tale of suffering and a heart-rending one at that. But there is not just introspection, self-examination and 'philosophising' here, but also action, suspense, pathos and genuine sorrow in the ending, which managed to be profound without being sentimental or melodramatic.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Supremely Political Novel, 24 Feb 1999
By A Customer
One should probably read this great novel TWICE to catch all the nuances. Like his other major works, this masterpiece by Dostoevsky drives home two central, inter-related themes: (a) that ideas (and ideology) have consequences; and (b) that these can be deadlier than any other force on earth.
For sheer depth and profundity, probably nothing can match the parable of The Grand Inquisitor, in THE BROTHERS KARAMAZOV, but there's one line in C&P that immediately struck me as one of the greatest single sentences in all the world's literature, quintessentially pregnant with meaning. The detective, Porfiry Petrovich, who knows that Raskolnikov is the murderer, doesn't arrest him, playing a sort of cat-and-mouse game. Porfiry rightly suspects that this was a political (ideological) crime, not a typical one, and knows that his triumph would be much greater if he forces Raskolnikov to ADMIT not just the error of his act, but the error of his thinking. This sentence varies considerably from translation to translation, but basically it is (Porfiry to Raskolnikov): "You know, it's just as well you only killed the old woman. Because if you'd invented another THEORY, that would have been a thousand times MORE hideous." The events of our century have well borne out this prophecy.
The other superb part of this novel is when Raskolnikov's friend Razmuihin is shocked to hear that Raskolnikov's journal article had suggested that "superior" men, like Napoleon, create their own moral codes and are not bound by traditional ones. (Woody Allen's film BULLETS OVER BROADWAY also provided a good satire of this ominous idea: an artist "creates his own moral universe." And, as in C&P, this led to a killing.) What shocks Razmuihin the most is that wanton killing and terror could be justified PRECISELY IN THE NAME OF MORALITY.
Have we not seen enough of this already, in its most terrible aspects? The point is: such theories are still boiling in the pot, and we may not have heard the last of them.
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93 of 98 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Give It A Go, 12 Oct 2010
By 
M. Dowden (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(VINE VOICE)    (HALL OF FAME REVIEWER)    (TOP 50 REVIEWER)   
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If you are reading this it is becuase you really can't make up your mind whether to download it or not. Its free, so why not give it a go...you know you want to. This has been going up and down in the download charts of this catergory so lots of people must already have downloaded it, also back when the Big Read was running this was one of the titles that got in the top 100.

This is the Constance Garnett translation, which is probably the most read tanslation of this book; although not my ultimate favourite translation there is not anything wrong with this. If you are studying this for a course then you will have to check with your teacher which they consider the most accurate. Constance Garnett has come in for criticism over the years because she did miss things out and gloss over others, however she did reproduce something that is easily understood, readable and enjoyable into the English language, and in keeping with the actual story. Dostoevsky pushed the bounds of the Russian language to some extent so translating him is never an easy task and even some more modern translators have used her work to help with their own.

Of all Dostoevsky's major works this is probably the easiest one to read and that is why it has become so popular. The story is relatively simple in outline. Our anti-hero decides to commit a crime and this follows him through the planning, the execution, and the aftermath. 'Simples' I hear you say, any Tom, Dick or Harry could write that. It is the whole execution of the novel though that holds you entranced. Delving deep into the psyche Dostoevsky produced here something that can never be replicated as you go through what our anti-hero, Raskolnikov feels and thinks.

Truly what Shakespeare was to the play, Dostoevsky was to the novel, so even if you only ever read one of his novels then try this one. As I've said, it is the easiest major work of his to read, plus it is free.
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23 of 24 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Amazing then, Amazing now, 30 July 2006
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So many books that you are 'supposed' to read, and 'supposed' to like are in reality frighteningly dull. There's probably a good moral behind them, but you are yawning too much to really see it.

Crime and Punishment, however, is a rarity - it is a page-turner. Raskolnikov's crime, and his subsequent punishment, keep you gripped right from the start. Dostoevsky's morals of the book are always close to the surface, but do not get in the way of a fantastic read.

The usual collection of bizarre and fascinating characters are all here, and so are the easily recognisable emotions. The feeling of somebody having done something so bad that he can't talk to anybody, including his mother, is probably universal and perfectly captured here.

Raskolnikov's megalomania, and obsession with wanting to be a 'Napoleon' figure will also chime with many of those who read it today, especially those of a similar age (mid 20s).

This particular translation is considered the classic version, though there is not much to call between it and many others. However, there is a good introduction to some of the themes of the book that make it a good buy.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars As near to perfection as you can get, 12 Dec 2009
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)
Eighty per cent of reviewers of this book gave it the full five stars which says it all. Even the greatest pieces of classic literature can be divisive but it appears that Crime and Punishment is truly one of the crème de la crème of classic novels. I never thought that I would find a psychological thriller of any interest but Raskolnikov's demise is fascinating. He views himself as some kind of Napoleonesque hero who believes that he is committing murder for the good of humanity. We then witness his extraordinary mental deterioration as he becomes sick with paranoia and can not contain his secret any longer.

The impact his behaviour appears to have on the other main characters is deeply compelling as they each struggle to contend with their own issues. The book is written and translated in such a way that everything is equally enjoyable to read. The vast majority of the novel is spent following conversations between the central characters as opposed to being a highly eventful book. However, each character is so unique and symbolic that I found myself hanging on every word that was written. The book is awash with various themes with a particular focus on attacking nihilism and utilitarianism. In addition, one gains an enthralling insight into the widespread poverty of Nineteenth Century St Petersburg and the effect this has had on the central characters. It may be worth purchasing accompanying notes to the book to fully appreciate what Dostoyevsky is trying to say.

This book truly does belong on a list of "books to read before you die" as it is unlike anything I've ever read. As near to perfection as any author can get.
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A trek into the heart of man, 2 Jun 1999
By A Customer
Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment is a literal masterpiece of man's search for the self. He uses Existentialist theories to motivate Raskolnikov to commit the "perfect murder". What makes this work awesome, is the use of his personal writing. The use of language in this novel is informal, yet captivating. The reader has trouble putting this book down as the life of Raskolnikov escalates down a spiral of insanity and loneliness. The realization of his mistakes takes a toll on his well being and he must confess his crime of murder before he loses all hope. The moral issues in this novel are ones of great proportion. Man cannot survive completely alone, and he cannot instill his will over others, when he has nothing left to will, he is nothing, and death is the suitable solution. Raskolnikov almost comes to this conclusion, but a woman gives him hope. Without the support from Sonia, he would have perished. One of Dostoevsky's aims for this novel was disproving the theories of Nietzsche and Hegel in their philosophy of the Uber man. Both believed that man can become extraordinary through their will and actions, and are therefore above the law of man. However, no man is above the law, and Dostoevsky uses Raskolnikov to prove that theory, as Raskolnikov's life becomes more painful to endure. In the end, his confession is his salvation, and once again, he enters the world of humanity.
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47 of 50 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Brilliant for real readers and light readers!, 26 Aug 2003
By 
Mr. A. Ralls (London, UK) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
I thought I'd set myself a challenge and attempt Dostoyevsky. I was quite young, and I'd only just discovered that maybe Dickens and Shakespeare weren't as bad as I thought, and so I tentatively read the first page. From then on I was hooked. I couldn't put this down. It is an exciting novel, full of tension and anger, desperation. The protagonist, Raskolnikov, is one of the most absorbing characters I have ever encountered. His interaction with those around him in a semi-fevered state is fantastic, and the confrontation between Svidrigailov and Raskolnikov's sister is exilerating. But don't be put off by the long names, this book is as good as any modern thriller. It is gripping and exciting, and makes you understand why it's a classic. Bear in mind, Dostoyevsky was writing this book to save his life. He was going to be imprisoned for debt unless he got the money for its publication, which is maybe why it's so exciting. Read it!
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30 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Classic that lives up to the name, 5 Dec 2002
By A Customer
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Penguin Popular Classics) (Paperback)
Personally, I hate it when you read or see something that's supposed to be a wonderful classic and you just. Don't. Get it. It's a very frustrating feeling to wonder whether you're being dim or is it the rest of the world who can't see the obvious fact that the emperor has no clothes?
Thankfully, I didn't have that experience reading Crime & Punishment. In fact, I'm sorry I put it off for so long but like many people, I assumed that as a 'classic' it might be a bit boring and hard to read. This wasn't - it's extremely easy to read and in parts (to my surprise) very funny.
The story plunges you in right away, as Raskolnikov, clearly in the middle of a (self-imposed?) crisis, ponders whether to commit murder. He has been sitting for months in a horrible, dark, small room, thinking too much, talking to himself, going over and over the same convoluted theories. Then he acts. And suddenly what was just a theory is brutal reality - and, contrary to what is suggested by some reviewers here, the thing that really tips him over the edge is not the magnitude of what he has done, nor the fact that his plans went wrong, but his own weakness. He is surprised and ashamed to find how sordid and small it all is and that he is not the great man, the 'Napoleon' he dreamed of being.
Things go on as he restlessly wanders from one shabby St. Petersburg room to another, seeing and avoiding his mother and sister, a helpful friend and a poor family he ends up entangled with. They try so hard to understand what's going on with Raskolnikov - the kindness and love that they feel for him is almost heartbreaking. I think that some people might give up on the book because they find it hard to like Raskolnikov. But you are not meant to like him, or empathise with him, just because the book is seen through his eyes. You have to go behind that and understand how the actions of this one man have an impact on the people who love him. Meanwhile, there is a crafty policeman - surely a forerunner of Columbo with his 'and one last thing ...' - who is suspicious but, with no proof, 'plays' Raskolnikov expertly.
Some people don't like the ending. I was glad of it, myself, because it gave such hope and was so realistic - few of us are murderers, but we make other mistakes. There is a way out. A grim suicide is not the only option, people can change themselves and change their lives. Anyway, it's left ambiguous: Raskolnikov has a sort of revelation, but it's still up to him how he lives the rest of his life. It's not all neatly tied up.
Finally, I want to say how modern this book seemed. Certainly there are, of course, references to the society of the day, but it's surprising just how modern the attitudes and feelings of its characters are. I hope I have convinced you to read it if you were doubtful.
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17 of 18 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A good read, 13 Dec 2006
By 
Monica (New York, USA) - See all my reviews
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. That conflict in his soul brought out the rich ideas, discussions and emotions from the characters that interacted with him. I also enjoyed THE BROTHER KARAMAZOV,UNION MOUJIK
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16 of 17 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The most extraordinary novel I have ever read, 26 July 2007
By 
J. Pierson "joe_pierson" (Essex) - See all my reviews
(REAL NAME)   
Firstly I should say that I haven't read this translation. My own is by Constance Garnett (as recommended by Italo Calvino). To give a vague idea of what the difference in their style might be, here's the opening line from each; 'At the beginning of July, during a spell of exceptionally hot weather, towards evening...' McDuff. 'On an exceptionally hot evening in July...' Garnett. So, I suppose it might be that Garnett tends to be more concise. I've read McDuff's translation of The Idiot, though, and he's obviously a wonderful translator. So I'd recommend either. Just read it. Anyway,

Dostoyevsky's writing style is often insanely manic. He launches from the vigorously bleak to the maniacally funny in the space of a page, he creates grotesque scenes of exaggerated madness and then relates an almost saccharine moment of tenderness. The introduction to Brothers Karamazov notes, 'Dostoyevsky will frequently use the same word four or five times in one paragraph and then never use it again.' His style and all of his great books are mad dashes and, if you're prepared to go along with it, they grab you by the throat and put you truly through the wringer. Crime and Punishment does all of these things. It is also the most remarkable psychological portrait I've ever encountered.

How many times have you heard the comment, 'I was surprised by how contemporary it reads. Like it could have been written yesterday.'? It's rarely true. Crime and Punishment really does have that rare power, that cold, almost frightening ability to touch a nerve and it does so through Dostoyevsky's unique and unlikely ability to slide absolute clarity through what is often crazy, messy prose. It feels contemporary and modern because it asks a question that is always pertinent.

Raskolnikov decides to kill an old lady pawnbroker. He does. He smashes her over the head with the blunt edge of an axe. When the pawnbroker's half sister, Lizaveta, walks in on him he kills her to. He soon falls into a fever. He falls for Sonia, the beleaguered daughter of the Marmelodov home. He is tended in his illness by a friend, Razhumihim, and suspected of murder by Inspector Porfiry. His mother and sister turn up with a steaming pile of bad news all of their own and the sinister paedophile and murderer Svidrigailov soon follows them to Petersberg.

Though all the complications of the narrative are compelling and important, the dominant question which runs through the novel is simply, why did he do it? I may be demonstrating a warped interpretation of the text, but finding my own answer to this was one of the most revelatory realisations of my life. Raskolnikov presents a few of his own `motives' to Sonia and Porfiry. He says it was in demonstration of a Napoleon complex- basically, some people are so insignificant they deserve to die, while those men of greatness have every right to kill if it is necessary for their survival. Raskolnikov doesn't actually believe this. To Sonia he says it was to prove whether he was capable of performing such a bold act of finality, to prove that he is more than a `louse', like everyone else. He dismisses this as absurd. The reason he did it, I think, was simply to do it. Tolstoy said, `Nothing is without consequence and nothing is important.' Raskolnikov killed those women in an impotent attempt to stop consequence, to free himself from the ceaseless and boring repetition of motion then its consequence, ad infinitum, and because this is impossible he becomes sick and confused immediately after the murders, immediately it becomes obvious that he has stopped nothing, that he has not come out of this act unshackled and unburdened from the obviousness of life. He could not admit this motive to himself beforehand because its futility would have halted him. He realises that there is nothing to be done. We act and that act has consequences and those consequences fill the details of our life. And that is all. His acceptance of this is responsible for the eerily placid, calm passages that end the novel and, to my mind, this pacification of Raskolnikov has absolutely nothing to do with any Christian fervour, as many suggest.

This is an amazing novel. Come to your own conclusions.
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Crime and Punishment (Penguin Popular Classics)
Crime and Punishment (Penguin Popular Classics) by Fyodor Dostoyevsky (Paperback - 1997)
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