Top positive review
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Dark and powerful.
on 3 November 2017
“Crime and Punishment” is the story of Raskolnikov, also known as Rodion Romanovich and Rodya, and is told in the third person by an omnipotent narrator. At the start Raskolnikov is an impoverished ex student who is troubled by lack of food, decent lodgings and the fear that his sister is selling herself into marriage to improve his lot. This theme of women selling themselves for the sake of their families weaves itself through the narrative. He has dealings with an elderly woman who he uses as a pawn broker and who, he decides, doesn’t deserve to live. He decides this coldly and intellectually and yet even before he commits the crime the idea begins to warp his psyche. One life to save his family from ruin, well it becomes two lives but for some reason the second is ignored in all his guilty suffering after the crime.
The story follows Raskolnikov’s emotional collapse and psychological disorder. He is plagued with paranoia and fear of discovery. Everyone around him becomes a potential threat and by the time a man eventually confronts him with belief of his culpability he has already suffered one thousand accusations in his own mind. The net closes but very slowly. His class seems to protect him more than he deserves. He pushes everyone away and yet feels constantly surrounded, hounded even.
It’s an intense and claustrophobic read. It doesn’t move forward as much as spiral inwards. The characters are left sketchily drawn as Raskolnikov avoids them when possible and we rarely get to see below their surfaces. Raskolnikov's own journey is not one of growth. If you are expecting a character arc you will be disappointed, but what you get instead is powerful in its own right.