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May 30, 2016

Guest Review: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

Since May was a #readclassics month at Fictional Fortress, one of our lovely club members, Kadbury (she blogs at Writer and Tales) is taking over to review Crime and Punishment for us (there's also some exciting giveaway info at the end, you're welcome)
Over to you, Kadbury;

Book Title: Crime and Punishment
Author: Fyodor Dostoevsky
Genre: Classic Lit

This is one of those huge books that everyone sees in a shop and gets intimidated by. Yes, it’s a classic written by a Russian author. First off I would like to warn all readers that the names and pet names of every character can be slightly confusing. Some editions have a list of all the names and pet names of each character at the start or end of the novel. My suggestion is that you buy one of these editions.

This book is large in size but the story as a whole is not hard to understand and is pretty universal. It raises questions regarding morality, crime and justice and these are answered to an extent. It isn’t packed with philosophy and is pretty straightforward so everyone can understand it.

Our titular character, Raskolnikov is the quintessential individual who finds fault with everything in the world. He has a high opinion of himself and his ideals and is plagued with thoughts of putting his ideals into practice (like some other individuals we find around us *cough* Trump *cough*) .It is his ideals and warped world view that lead him to perform an unconventional unlawful act. The book explores his psyche and his worldview after his consciousness becomes ruptured.

Crime and Punishment is an exploration of society and the psychology of an individual removed from society. It tries very hard to find a balance between being preachy and being too philosophical. There is a clear dichotomy between religious faith and idealism. Even if you don’t want to go into the depth of the story ,on the surface it is a nerve wracking narrative that keeps you on the edge of your toes . It is not a whodunnit but the suspense is palpable throughout.

The multiple side stories are engaging (sometimes more than the main story) but all the characters and their narratives get tied together towards the end. Parallels can be drawn between the minor characters and the main. Each character and plot point serves a purpose.The characters are a microcosm of society as a whole.Realism was after all Dostoyevsky’s strong suit.

Towards the end, I started getting a little fed up with the protagonist but all other characters managed to save the narrative (And there were many). As a reader, I would say that at a point you get frustrated with the protagonist and stop enjoying the story. The female characters in the story are also too conventional and I didn’t like any of them. The questions raised by the story make it worth a read but I wouldn’t say it was an enjoyable read throughout.

For those of you interested, I'm giving away Penguin editions of Crime & Punishment, and Fathers & Sons (as pictured above) on my blog,  to participate in the giveaway, go here.

What are your Favourite classics?

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