Friday, 22 January 2016

Boop's Bookshelf: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevski

Crime and Punishment checks off 'A book more than 100 years old' in my 2015 Reading Challenge.

The Author
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821 - 1881) was a Russian writer who predominantly explored human psychology in 19th century Russia in his literary works. He wrote several novels, short stories and essays throughout his life based around the social, political and spiritual clime of troubled Russia.

An impoverished student theorises that an extraordinary person can commit crime with no ramifications, if the result is to benefit mankind. Raskolnikov tests this theory and explores the mental impact this has on himself. 

My Thoughts
My first impressions from reading this, is that it is not going to be an easy read. Classic Russian literature is hard! all of the characters have several names depending on who is addressing them, and the names are not easily remembered. It took me a long time to get my head around who everyone was and how they were connected. We see this story through the perspective of the main character - Raskolnikov. Unlike many novels, the main character is not particularly likable, especially from the beginning as you (the reader) realises that his convulouted thoughts are contemplating how easily he could commit a murder. Raskolnikov stays unlikeable through the novel, mistreating his family and friends throughout. However despite all of that, you still don't want him to give himself up. 

He never shows remorse for commiting murder, I thought his main issue was realising that he is not an extroadinary person exempt from the ramifications of the crime he commited. he does eventually turn himself in, after wrestling with himself through all of the preceeding chapters. The punishment part of the title comes into play more with the mental torture he is afflicted with, rather than the coporal punishment of being sent away to do manual labour. that section of the story is incredibly small and pales into almost insignificance when compared with the rest of the text.

I found this a very hard book to get through, however I do feel that it was worth the read. 

My Rating...
Not particularly enjoyable, but it is an interesting read.