Russia to me (not that I've ever been) is a great big country full of concrete, imposing buildings, rain and an overwhelming sense of gloom. This book written by one of the great Russian authors Fyodor Dostoyevsky is much the same. The basic jist of the story is a fella kills an old pawnbrokering woman and then gets a bit paranoid/mad not I think with guilt but more about getting caught, he thinks he's not just an ordinary human but a special person who can commit a crime without conscience getting in the way and go on to do extraordinary things a bit like napoleon. The main bulk of the book deals with his thoughts and frame of mind and how he really undo's himself. There is of course other characters but he is central to the whole novel and everyone else leads from him. My main problem was understanding who was who in this book, and yes I'm sure that makes me sound really dim but Russians have a lot of names each (well at least three) depending on the familiarity/formality with which they are talking so I did find it a bit hard to keep track of who did/said/thought what. Another small problem was that its really a bit miserable now I can be a bit miserable and misery loves company but this was a whole different level there was no light to all the dark, it was just unrelenting gloom. The author felt like he just had too much to say, he had all these opinions on the psychology of crime and it just got rather tedious after a while reading them. That's not to say the whole novel was tedious, some sections of it trundled along nicely, some were really quite exciting and in all honesty the scene involving the murder was the only time I've read something and wanted to shut my eyes the way you would at the cinema when somethings particularly horrific, I was just sitting reading on my sofa flinching at the words! So to sum up then, its not a bad book, and I understand why it's a classic, all the plotlines link well together and the characters couldn't be formed any better. The main characters plight makes sense and is plausible, to be fair the entire story is, and after you get used to the names it does get easier to read but it does go on a bit and I just stopped caring about halfway through. I don't know if I'd recommend it I guess I would but its not an immediately enjoyable book, you probably won't have much empathy for the characters and it takes a fair helping of concentration. It's not a likeable book but I think it's worth reading
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