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21 of 23 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Make sure you only buy this translation,
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)You probably know all about the general storylines and themes of this book, and how it delves into just about every area of human life from the existence of God to alcoholism... So I'll just speak of the translation. This is the ONLY English translation worth buying, it is poetic, fluid, and at times even lyrical but is always faithful to Dostoevsky's original.  You can only really appreciate this novel in English through this translation.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars An utterly thrilling read,
By A Customer
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)At first i was not at all tempted to read tis book, crime novels are not particually my favourite, although hearing that this was the first of its kind i thought i'd try; and i'm certainly glad i did.
This is an incredibly gripping read and makes you question certain ethics in society. I was actually quite astonished to find myself compassionate for the protagonist and even found myself hoping for him.
This book will keep you up all night and on the edge of your seat until the very end.
2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Required reading for the 'Big Society',
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)I have read 'Crime and Punishment' twice: in my teens and now twenty years later. It is the story of an impoverished ex-student who shuts himself away in his dingy bedsit and cooks up a theory that the great men of history are above the law, then sets out to prove himself one of them by committing murder. In my teens I probably romanticised Raskolnikov: now I find him grandiose, sullen, callous and self-deluded, and yet I still felt anxious for him as he went to pieces within his self-justifications. It is Dostoevsky's acute psychological understanding that makes this book such a gripping read. Raskolnikov does not engage with life itself, but with his ideas about it. Essentially, his crime is that he has set himself apart from humankind; he is to all intents and purposes dead to the world. (In this sense his crime brings its own punishment.) He only returns to life when he finally acknowledges Sonya and at last shows himself capable of true fellow-feeling.
This novel may be a classic but that does not mean it is not contemporary. Undoubtedly the world has its share of Raskolnikovs, but there are many more 'ordinary' people out there feeling increasingly disconnected from life. Anyone with big ideas about the' Big Society' (or just having to live with the consequences of them) ignores this book at their peril!
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars So Very Dark,
By A Customer
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)Dostoevsky's novel is a wonderful meditation on so many themes, most of which you'll see outlined in other reviwes. The thing that gripped me the most was how astute it is in realising the black confusion of an individual ship wrecked with guilt and mental discord - althougth I've never murdered a Russian money lender, I felt I could identify with the emotional turmoil and sick, tired world view of Raskolnikov. Not that it's all black as night. The rays of hope are clear, and I found convincing. The novel also succeeds in not allowing anyone to fall neatly into a "hero" "villain" stereotype -Dostoevsky's world is too real for that, full of broken people, crippled with sin, but reaching after something more. It's dark kids, but oh yes is it ever worth the read.
5 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A truly haunting masterpiece,
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)'Crime and Punishment' is the story of a young intellectual (Raskolnikov) who abandons traditional values of right and wrong and replaces them with a more utilitarian approach, in which an act is justified by the amount of good it can produce. This leads him to murder a moneylender so that her (immorally obtained?) wealth can be redistributed to more righteous causes (including his own education). The question of what constitutes a crime and how the guilty should be punished recurs throughout, not just in relation to the murder but also through other themes such as a loveless yet convenient marriage and prostitution out of desperation. The book is seen from the murderer's perspective, concentrating on his psychological state.
It is a brilliant precursor of the existentialist literature of the twentieth century. Raskolnikov is the equivalent of Camus' Meersault, neither hero nor villain. Dostoyevsky gives Raskolnikov a hope of redemption (through Sonya and God), but it is not clear if he takes it or not. The confusion of a life without an absolute moral code is wonderfully played out as Raskolnikov realises his theory has failed and he is forced to confront the nature of his own punishment, which he accepts as necessary and inevitable.
The book is very readable, and not cluttered with the philosophising of other of Dostoyevsky's works. The moral is all in the telling. The characters are very romanticised (much swooning and emotional outbursts) but each served to illustrate the book's thesis wonderfully. There is even a little comic interplay between Raskolnikov and his pursuer in the police force, Porfiry Petrovich (an early Columbo), though Raskolnikov's tension during these interviews is amply portrayed.
The book succeeds where many latter ones failed. It is a 'philosophical' novel in the style of Camus and Sartre, yet manages to grip you with its plot and utterly absorb you into its protagonist. It keeps you tense throughout with the knowledge that Raskolnikov is doomed, and constantly forces you to question each character's views of 'right' and 'wrong'. An essential read.
4 of 5 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Inspirational,
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)The themes explored in this exceptional story have been replicated, reworked, rehashed, reappraised in many other artistic forms (Robert Bresson's film Pickpocket is a great example but not Woody Allen's Match Point). None, however, have captured Dostoevsky's supreme ability to transfer the inner thoughts of his sublime creation (the edgy, self-obsessed Raskolnikov) into the mind of the reader (as in my case), through the creation of a Nietzschean construct of social superiority and moral anguish. I was gripped from the start: Raskolnikov's rent dodging, St Petersburg, chance encounters, family history. And I remained in Dostoevsky's literary vice to the end. Such was the power of the narrative (the translation seemed exemplary) that I found myself sympathising with `Rodya' and his horrific actions. I became stressed as I feared for my hero's safety and nervous about the choices he made. For me Crime and Punishment is a novel about good and appalling behaviour, the value of human existence and self-sacrifice, and, ultimately, the psychology of remorse. A book packed with tension, humour and urban texture. Remarkable.
5.0 out of 5 stars Great book great format,
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This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's Classics) (Kindle Edition)One of the greatest novels by one of the greatest novelists. The printed book will never die but I have to admit that I love the Kindle.
2 of 3 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Most accessible Dostoevsky,
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)Dark, thrilling, frenzied and macabre, this is the most accessible way into Dostoevsky. Built around the story of a crime, this yet spills over into the satirical and philosophical.
The figures of Raskolnikov and Sonya are both realistic and yet also representational and it is part of Dostoevsky's tragic and almost manic vision that it is the prostitute who can offer a form of redemption.
Some people have complained that this is a depressing book: it's certainly dark and has no easy happy ending - but is still a powerful glimpse into Dostoevsky's mind.
5 of 8 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Not as inaccessible as you think.,
By A Customer
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)I first read this quite a few years ago while still at school. It was one of the only "heavyweight" pieces of writing I attempted without it being a requirement. I can honestly say that I am glad that I did. In English class you are "force-fed" analyzing a lot of boring books so it was a refreshing change to come across something that actually provoked a lot of thought about fundamental issues without requiring a re-reading of every sentence in order to understand it. You will quickly find yourself forming your own, rather sophisticated opinions on the books themes of which there are many; the way human psychology tends to form "the truth" about what it believes based around what is good for it for example.
I know that it is quite a strange suggestion but if you are not somebody who usually reads novels as intellectual stimulation rather as entertainment Crime and Punishment is a great place to start expanding your mind. This book certainly was one of my first steps in really learning to appreciate philosophy in literature.
1 of 2 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Full of suspense and intrigue, a wonderful classic,
This review is from: Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's Classics) (Paperback)Raskolnikov, Rodion Romanovich sets out one day in the middle of a fever to kill pawn broker and money lender Alena Ivanovna. He fashions a loop of cloth inside his jacket to hide an axe after hearing her sister Lizaveta will be away one evening and she will be at home alone. Once he gets to her flat, his plans soon seem to come undone. After killing Alena, Lizaveta arrives home earlier than expected and Raskolnikov has forgotten to lock the front door. In the spur of the moment he kills her as well and then flees the scene, taking Alena's purse and some possessions.
Interweaving the story of Raskolnikov is the story of his sister Dunya. She was a governess in a household where the gentleman of the house fell in love with her. His wife arranged for her to be married to clerk Luzhim, Peter Petrovich much to her brothers disgust. Both force her to choose between them and in the meantime her former boss Svidrigaylov, Arkady Ivanovich turns up to cause further trouble for Dunya.
What is really interesting is Raskolinkov's reasons, or lack of, for the murder. He doesn't really appear to have any and he certainly expresses little or no remorse during the course of the book. He refers to Alena as an "old witch" and barely mentions Lizaveta who was such a gentle soul. He gets involved with a prostitute (Sofya Semenovna) and her family who end up being his salvation ultimately.
There are some great cat and mouse games and converations between Raskolinkov and Porfiry Petrovich (the examining magistrate) as the net around Raskolinkov tightens. Do the police know the truth or are they just playing games with him? The book isn't so much about the crime (although it is frequently mentioned) or the punishment of it by law, it's more about suffering. Raskolinkov seems to make things worse for himself by randomly confessing to people and then pretending he was joking to further increase his suffering (perhaps because of his lack of guilt and motive?). It also discusses the nature of crime and his particular belief that some people who are geniuses are above the law (like Napoleon). It also parallels Dostoevsky's own experiences with crime and just escaping being put to death at the last moment to be exiled to Siberia.
It took me a little to get into this novel as it is pretty complicated, luckily my copy had a really handy guide to the Russian names at the back as they kept using different names for the same person. Once I did get stuck in, I fell in love with it. The climax is gripping the edge of your seat to see how it all plays out and I found it nearly impossible to put down. I highly recommend it if you haven't yet found the time for it.
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Crime and Punishment (Oxford World's Classics) by Fyodor Dostoevsky (Paperback - 5 Mar 1998)
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