Crime and Punishment

By Fyodor Dostoevsky, Richard Pevear (translator), Larissa Volokhonsky (translator)

Book cover of Crime and Punishment

Book description

Hailed by Washington Post Book World as “the best [translation] currently available" when it was first published, this second edition has been updated in honor of the 200th anniversary of Dostoevsky’s birth.

With the same suppleness, energy, and range of voices that won their translation of The Brothers Karamazov the…

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Why read it?

6 authors picked Crime and Punishment as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

This book may seem a little off-putting at first glance (a Russian novel, long and tedious!), but don’t be timid about taking this novel in hand and plowing headlong into it with the gusto of a James Cain crime thriller. To be clear, Crime and Punishment is mesmerizing and represents the prototype for nearly every crime novel that followed it. Some of my favorite scenes are the interrogations the chief magistrate conducts with the killer. The reader knows Raskolnikov is guilty but the cat-and-mouse dialogues between them are as fresh and intense as anything you’ll lay your eyes on. The…

This nineteenth-century novel paved the way for the modern crime novel. While the plot revolves around a murder, the book also explores the psychological workings of a loner who’s a frustrated and opinionated young man with a Napoleon-like complex, and is undone by a clever police detective. The narrative can be overwritten at times and a slog to read through, but the story remains compelling and insightful after all these years.

I could relate to the character who knowingly and deliberately commits a murder. We may deny it, but as human beings we all have the capacity to do evil, including the ultimate evil of taking someone else’s life. The character, despite his convoluted mind, does have a conscience, so he suffers guilt and ultimately finds redemption through love, which he has never really known before.

From Tom's list on redemption and forgiveness.

I read this when I was in my late twenties still playing serious rugby, which was my first love. I was full of myself and without a care to speak of, which was my second love; me. This story was a complete shock. I'd never given a thought to poverty, or to the barrenness of ambition. In fact, Id never thought of anyone, but myself. By reading this story it was clear to me where such self-centred thoughts could go. I was rich in many ways but not in the awareness of deprivation and the cruel world beyond…

From Daniel's list on the best character driven stories.

I’ve spoken a lot about the impact Crime and Punishment has had on me as an author. I read it in high school, and it was the first time I fully comprehended the power of the written word. Dostoevsky creates a character in Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov (Rodya) that should horrify any lover of true crime; however, throughout the course of the novel, Dostoevsky breathes such life into Rodya that you find yourself rooting for a base murderer to escape his just punishment. Now that’s power. Not only that, but come on, how fun is that name to say!

From M.L.'s list on character driven novels.

The classic 19th Century novel about a young man who commits a murder and is then forced to confront what he’s done. What’s the value of a human life? The cost of taking one? Can he live with his actions or will his guilt destroy him?

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