Dostoyevsky’s Crime and Punishment, to put it briefly, follows the story of a former law student named Raskolnikov, who commits an act of murdering two women with an axe. Only a prostitute named Sonya can offer him redemption.
Although I had heard of a few icons in classic Russian literature, such as Leo Tolstoy, Anton Chekhov and of course, Dostoyevsky, I had never read any Russian literature in its intirity until I read Crime and Punishment. In fact, my older sister (who loves books) recommended the book to me, and I ended up reading it before lectures and in my own time. Though it was partly ruined by the fact that the famous Moors murderers read it and was a key motivation towards one of their murders, Crime and Punishment seemed like a good book all the same. I am aware that the book has been made into several film adaptations, though I have tried my best to avoid watching the adaptations for fear of ruining my perception of the novel, though interestingly, I realised that the late, great John Hurt played Porfiry in the 2002 version.
The novel, as a whole, teaches that all actions have consequences, and that there was no way that he could ever get away with murder. To be honest, he got what he deserved. I simply love the author’s flowing, overly detailed descriptions. Although some of the novel dragged just a tiny bit in places (i.e pages and pages of dialogue), my favourite part of the entire book was when he told Sonya (perhaps one of the main female characters in the entire book) that he killed the women, who turned out to be connected to her in some way or another. I also think that the novel is a critical reflection of Russian society at the time of when Dostoyevsky was writing it. You had your peasants, members of the police force, and the prostitutes.This book has definitely launched my recently found small interest in Russian literature.
If you have several days to spare, then go ahead and read Crime and Punishment. People always seem to assume that old books are long and dreary, but depending on the book, it is rather interesting, even though the names of the characters in this book were rather long and at times, I was confused with who was who.
Overall, a great, classic novel that has broadened my horizons while exploring new things to read and enjoy.