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on 21 February 2014
Crime and Punishment is set in Russia in the 1800's. It is written from the perspective of the protagonist Raskolnikov; a young student. Despite its reputation as being hard going, I found it easy to read and impossible to put down.

Due to financial hardship and circumstance Raskolnikov commits murder. Russia was economically and politically unstable at the time of writing and one of the greatest arguments in favor of socialism is that, if people were equal would crime be eliminated? Would the reason for acting criminally no longer exist? The novel spreads this message, without focusing politics as a major theme. Drawing upon the writings of Marx and Engels, Russia became Communist in 1917 under Lenin, succeeded by Stalin after Lenin's death in 1925.

As the title suggests the crime - one man murdering another and; punishment - the guilt, paranoia, mental deterioration and then incarceration are the major themes, the content of the entire novel. Other plot-lines such as romance take a significant back seat. Love does indeed suffer as a consequence of the crime, part of the punishment I guess.

A tale of love, justice, psychology and suffering; this is a wonderful read, and despite what Willy Mason says, you should read Dostoevsky at your age.
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on 9 March 2013
Reading the classics is often quite hard work. Commonly there will be a turn of phrase of wording, or dialects which are non-too familiar to the modern reader. This is surprisingly easy to read, the main challenge by modern standards is therefore simply one of length.
Whereas I can often finish a Kindle novel in a couple of sessions this was much longer, but never boring. I found it demanded longer sessions of attention though, so at times I had this for when I had half an hour or more, and other shorter/lighter books for those snatched moments on the bus, train or before meetings!
I didn't really know what to expect. What I got was a great story, with romance, mystery, and of course both crime and punishment! Genuinely glad to have finally read this, and this Penguin edition is excellent. The annotated text is easy to follow, and the notes are regular enough to be useful, but not so often as to be annoying.
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on 21 January 2016
My joint favourite book of all time. Already had a battered copy but wanted a kindle edition. It's a masterpiece in the subject of introspection, guilt, psychological turmoil and a double murder.

This is quite simply (along with 'In Cold Blood' / Truman Capote) a class piece of literature which can be read time & time again yet continue to reveal new facets we missed 1st, 2nd, 3rd time round amidst so many other complex issues.

Can't praise Dostoevsky highly enough.
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on 3 November 2016
Buoyed on by an interview I read with Una Stubbs, of all things, who said that Dostoyevsky is actually very readable, I thoroughly enjoyed this book. It is indeed very readable and doesn't suffer from the typical issue with Russian literature in that you don't get lost in a million different names for each character. Great story, with some weighty issues discussed, and that unique intenseness that you get in Russian literature.
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on 24 January 2016
Gripping, sad and occasionally funny. I love most of Dostoevsky's work, this is probably the best entry point for those unfamiliar with his writing.

I picked up this edition as I wanted the Constance Garnett translation in hardback. Not the most aesthetic edition but it's a high quality hardback which looks like it will last a lifetime of revisits.
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on 13 August 2016
I had been looking forward to reading this book. I found it very hard to read, I am hoping it was to do with the translation. This is added to a very small list of books that I have been unable to finish.
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VINE VOICEon 17 April 2011
Because this is translated from the Russian, and is very old, there's a double whammy here - you have to get used to an older way of speaking plus get to grips with the finer points of the translation! Written in a very fast moving, almost frenetic style, I also found I had to force myself to slow right down reading it or else I was missing things. Usually I read a book over the course of a day or so - reading on the way to work, lunch, the way home, and in bed. This book took me 3 weeks! But it was worth it, I must say. So different to everything I have ever read, and a world away from the more modern Russian authors I love. But this was an experience, and one I do intend to repeat soon! I think the heavyweights are a must for all avid readers.
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on 19 September 2009
I had heard of Dostoevsky but never read any of his books. Every time I went into a book store, I always shied away from Russian authors on the premise that their books were far too long and far too intense. If you were like me, I would advise you too think again.

When a member of our book club choose this book all you could hear were deep signs and raised eyebrows (myself included). Nevertheless, this all changed once I started reading it.

This book tells the story of a man called Rodion Raskolnikov who committs a crime of murder and nearly gets away with it. However, this book is more than just a who done it (take note Dan Brown), it takes you on a journey into the consciouness, mind and psycological make up of Rodion Raskolnikov.

Although the book centres on Raskolnikov, you will enjoy the other characters such as his sister Dounia, best friend Razumihin, Sonia and Zametov all of whom have a pivitol role in this story of murder, hate, guilt, anger, fear, love, loyalty and ultimately repetence. Set against the back drop of Russian poverty before the revolution, you will not put this book down.

So glad it was choosen and so glad I read it.
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on 4 August 2011
Downloaded for free for the Kindle and thought worth a read. Quite long and heavy but got into the novel and enjoyed it. Not a cheerful book but paints a picture of poverty and Russian life. As others have said the themes and descriptions still relate today, but is not "modern dress" in any way. The underlying theme is indeed "crime and punishment" and this is dealt with in many ways. Why kill, and can this ever be justified? How a guilty man gives himself away. One is always "punished" even if not caught, and in many ways being free but guilty is worse than death - the torment of the guilty man can only be helped by going to prison, which is a form of healing.

Well I have read it and ticked it off the list. Not my idea of light holiday reading but glad I read it. Will now read some trash thriller to cheer myself up!
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on 7 October 2013
This is another classic novel that I enjoyed very much. I would never have read in book form but it seemed do-able on the e-reader.
I found the names of the characters muddling and think that if I had learned even elementary Russian I would understand something more about the names and places.

The story is very detailed Dostoevskisy does not shrink at all from "telling it like it is", except he doesn't give any detail about people's sex lives. The psychology is quite apparent and is partly what makes the story so long.

If you had been putting off reading some of the classics - give this one a go. It was a good £00.38p's worth, and would keep you going through several train journeys..........
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