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I have been told that to fully appreciate Dostoyevsky’s writing it is necessary to read his works in Russian. The poetry and lyricism of his prose is supposed to be spellbinding in his native language. Unfortunately this is not yet possible for me so I have had to settle for reading a translation (by David McDuff). This limitation aside, I found Crime and Punishment to be masterfully written and absolutely captivating despite its considerable length. As I read this masterpiece I felt as if was really in the story and could picture everything vividly – from the brutal beating to death of the mule to Marmeladov’s accident. The complexity of the main character, Rodion Raskolnikov, is impressive. He is a cross between a benevolent idealist and a malevolent intellectual elitist. He embodies to me the fundamental struggle between good and evil that plagues mankind. Although the main focus of the story is quite morbid (a murder) and depressing on the surface, I still found many parts of Crime and Punishment to be hilarious and even uplifting. Indeed, my favorite lines in this novel seem like a nugget timeless advice for life:

Time’s not what matters – it’s you that does. Become a sun and then everyone will see you. A sun must first and foremost be a sun.

Dostoyevsky, like other great Russian authors, is highly successful in taking readers into the deep and dark recesses of the human mind, exposing all of its horrific beauty. Crime and Punishment has definitely wet my appetite for more of Dostoyevsky. Next up will be the Brothers Karamazov.

Have you read Crime and Punishment? What do you think about it? Or have you read any of Dostoyevsky‘s other books? Which one was your favorite and why? Please feel free to share your thoughts in a comment below.

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