I read Crime and Punishment so that you don't have to


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@Falcor @beschizza

Merge with this?

In the early-mid-90s Budapest, there was a band called Rascal Raskalnikov.

So the whole fugue state is a little bit slow, but man this book is worth it just for the crime. I had chills after I read that, I missed a train stop it was so intense.

I tried to reply, but found the links recursive, finally came back to the board to find the raw post here, and got only this…

I can only say I appreciate the break down. I am surprised, as I have had at least one friend point me to “the trial”, anyway as recommended reading. I have been impressed by some russian writers, and loved Daywatch and Nightwatch (on netflix now, btw).

(From a security perspective, having dabbled in work not unlike counterintelligence, have since soaked up every russian counterintelligence book there has been just about… and been consistently impressed with the society’s culture and the way it promotes a manner of tactical and strategic thinking.)

But, yeah. Never got into any book recommended just because it is stamped OKAY or GOOD by mainstream.

Got into unorthodox school as quickly as I could, and ever since have found while I can like very mainstream products, like from american cinema… still my very favorite is probably always going to be highly obscure. (Liquid Sky, my favorite movie. 12 Monkeys, tied with it.)

The shorthand description looks like the book is utter crap.

I thought it was a good book. One of the classics that is worth the hard work - just like Don Quixote is, and Moby Dick isn’t.

I know it’s lazy to just say A is better than B, but I’d say Crime and Punishment is a gazillion times better that the dreary soap opera that is War and Peace, and has the added virtue of being substantially shorter.

The BBC adaptation with John Simm and Iain McDiarmid is worth a watch too.

  1. Young man Raskolnikov is losing his mind. See also: extreme angst.
  2. So he decides: SCREW EVERYTHING. Then he takes an ax to an old
    lady and her sister. Granted, the old lady is a swindler, a loan shark
    and an unsavory sort, and killing her is no biggie. But her sister
    isn’t, and he kills her anyway. He’s a jerk.

My recollection of the story might be a bit fuzzy, but:

I think his madness deserves at least a tiny bit of elaboration. Raskonikov aspires to be a great man and imagines that laws and morality do not apply to him. You’ve got to break some eggs to make an omelet, and Raskolnikov has to kill someone in order to make progress on the path of becoming a great man. To him, the old lady is just practice, someone of no significance who will not be missed.

This further influences his behavior with the investigator. He says and does insanely incriminating things because he: 1) is proud of the murder and wants others to know; 2) thinks the investigator is powerless to make a case against him; and 3) is still scared shitless of getting caught.


First, the link from BB is broken.

Second, spare us the barbarian reviews. Crime and Punishment is a great novel that I read for pleasure, not for class. Lowbrow tastes are all well and good but don’t insist that they are canonical.


I was gobsmacked by Moby-Dick. So much so I read it twice. There’s no James Joyce without Melville.

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I really liked the novel part. Give me a version without Melville’s Big Book of Whales in it and we can talk :smile:

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But that was the part that lifted it above Typee and Omoo and made it art. James Dickey once said that the chapter on the whiteness of the whale was the greatest poem in American English. I completely disagree with your position (though you have every right to hold it). Without all that melding of philosophy and whales, it is just a garden variety adventure story, easily forgotten. That stuff is what lifts it to the level of metaphysical meditation on the meaning of life and death. It isn’t a Big Book of Whales – it is symbolism of a complex and interlocking nature. It requires you to think as deeply as you might think about Ulysses, and to be as erudite and well read as well. If all you want is an adventure story, read Tom Clancy. Moby-Dick is not an idle diversion, but sometimes some of us need something not idle.

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My memory is similarly fuzzy, but


wasn’t it the landlady’s weird cataract eye that gave him the willies? And then he could still hear her heart beating under the floorboards where he buried it? Then it turns out that it was actually a shaved gorilla that stuffed her sister’s body up the chimney.


This is not to say that Crime and Punishment lacks literary merit. Of course it has it. It’s perfectly suited for classroom reading as a long-winded think-piece on the nature of guilt, sin, and redemption. So by all means, read it, if you’re into that. But if you’re wondering if you should read it out of some grim sense of obligation to the English homework you never did, don’t.

It sounds like if you’re in school and really don’t want to read C&P, there’s Spark Notes that can give you the gist, and maybe give you a B- if you don’t make it too obvious. If you feel like you’re missing something by not reading C&P as now you’re much more interested in this type of literature, read C&P. If you got through school without doing your homework and now feel some obligation to read it, just to say that you did, what is the point of cheating now? It’s a really long book where not a lot happens - you can see that from the genre, number of pages and any summary. If that’s not your thing, then be free. Spend the time doing something you actually enjoy.

I’ve only read an abridged version of Crime and punishment myself, but it sounds like a really interesting book. I really liked the Brothers Karamazov (although I haven’t finished it yet). Again, not much of consequence happens in a very long time, but you end up identifying strongly with very different characters in a way that you wouldn’t with a shorter book. The complex storylines of Game of Thrones are great, but I don’t feel like I know the characters to the same extent at all.

I would suggest skipping the Peace parts. It’s like Dickens you have to edit down the chapters to get the most.

Crime and Punishment is an amazing book. The Brothers Karamazov even more so. I’m not sure what the writer’s intent was in this snarky review. The book isn’t that long. It is interesting and compelling. Dostoyevsky was a master at looking into our souls and dragging up the parts of ourselves that we would rather not look at. It is true that not a lot of action happens, but that is not what the story is about. Dostoyevsky’s antisemitism is troubling to the current reader, but if you can get beyond that, this book will take you on a tour of the dark places of your soul.


Can someone do this for Ayn Shitbag next please?

Sorted. Cheers.

C&P was one of my O Level set texts. I recall precisely _ much about it. Which is odd, because Faggie Maggie Sykes was a damned good teacher (even if she DID puff around 60-a-day). She was our Classics teacher, too. I did manage As in both, so I must’ve been paying some attention at the time…

You knocked on the staff room door at your own risk, as you were likely to be hit with a massive smoke-ball the second it was answered - and there was no way you were gonna get a butcher’s at what went on in there, the smoke was so thick, it was as though someone had lit a bonfire in the centre of the room! I can’t recall a single upper school teacher who didn’t smoke. Most of the (pre)prep school staff did, too, as I recall.

In my senior year of high school, I opted–against strong protests from every corner of the administration–to take an elective class I was actually interested in instead of slowly killing myself with AP Literature or (gag) Great Books… as a result I developed a strong sense of elitist literary guilt and decided to read “classics” in my free time to prove I was still as good as my classmates. That lasted until I ran up against C&P, which I grew unable to endure after less than fifty pages.

One of my best friends at the time was originally from Russia, and had read it in the original Russian. She loved it, one of her favorite books of all time. I put it down to cultural differences and learned a valuable lesson about reading for pleasure being pointless unless the experience is actually pleasurable.

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