[Book Review] Crime and Punishment


crıme and punıshment
source : amazon

Title : Crime and Punishment

Author : Fyodor Dostoyevsky

Translator : David McDuff

Publisher : Penguin Group

Pages : 647

Year : 1991

Place : England



‘A detective novel, a religious epic, a study in criminal psychopathology…

‘An indictment of urban social conditions in nineteenth century Russia, and a proto-Nietzschean analysis of the “will to power” … Crime and Punishment is all these things – but it is more,” writes David McDuff in the introduction to this new translation.

Crime and Punishment tells how Raskolnikov, a former student, murders an old woman money-lender and her unfortunate sister. From the beginning Dostoyevsky attaches us unreservedly to his hero, drawing us into the dreams of the criminal soul, unfolding the rank processes of guilt in an atmosphere of almost unbearable tension and terror. The result is a tragic masterpiece, a profound drama of redemption and, according to the critic John Jones, ‘the most accessible and exciting novel in the world’.


Oh my God, I finally finished this book. Oh no no no! Don’t get me wrong. It’s not because this book is terribly boring but…. I had to stop reading this book for a while back because of my mid-term exams. I never read Dostoyevsky’s book before. So yes, this is the first. Way too magnificent. I can’t help but love his work to infinity and beyond. LOL.

I know Dostoyevsky from an Indonesian writer, name Iwan Setyawan. He mentions Dostoyevsky’s book The Brother Karamazov in his book, 9 Summers 10 Autumns. Actually, what I was looking for is The Brother Karamazov but I couldn’t find the english version from that book in our library. Only Turkish, and Turkish version. So then I burst into tears of joy when I found out his book, Crime and Punishment. And I started reading it with joy.

This book has a lot of characters. I hardly could remember their names. Mostly because their names are all in Russian. I had difficulties in pronouncing the name so it’s hard to remember. The main character of this book is Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. We can call him Rodya. But let me call him Raskolnikov, it sounds better to my ears. So Raskolnikov has a sister name Avdotya Romanovna Raskolnikova. By the way, if you’re wondering why they have a bit different spelling in surname, it’s because Russian has gender for each word. I learn a bit. So let’s call his sister as Dunya-yep that’s her nickname. Raskolnikov also has parents, of course. But because his papa has died, this book only mentions his mama, name Pulkheria Aleksandrovna Raskolnikova. Beside those three characters, there are also Semyon Zakharovich Marmeladov and his daughter Sofya/Sonya/Sonechka Semyonovna Marmeladova with her step-mother Katerina Ivanovna Marmeladova, also Raskolnikov’s best man Dmitry Prokofyich Razumikhin, also Arkadiy Ivanovich Svidrigaylov and his wife-then being his ex-wife Marfa Petrovna Svidrigaylova, also Pyotr Petrovich Luzhin,  Andrey Semyonovich Lebezyatnikov, Porfiry Petrovich, Lizaveta and Alyona Ivanovna and lots of other characters. You can imagine right, how pusing pala barbie it is!

Raskolnikov is such a nice lad, to be honest. He helps people around. Way too good, friendly and all. He even sacrifices his life; helping people without thinking much about himself. Sounds crazy indeed. At first, you may find him weird too, because he tends to talk to himself about his thoughts whenever and wherever he is. Just like a man with delirium. Well, not that much tho, actually. Because I like talking to myself too! Eh!

The conflict breaks up when he murders and robs an elderly pawn-broker and money-lender, Alyona Ivanovna and her unfortunate sister, Lizaveta in her house by using an axe. In the beginning, he didn’t intend to kill Lizaveta but Raskolnikov forgot to lock the door before committing his crime. All of sudden, Lizaveta came  and saw what Raskolnikov did. He, then, killed Lizaveta, too.  After killing two people, Raskolnikov starts trembling. That’s his first punishment.

The plot of this book is definitely unique compared to general detective story. Since the very beginning, Dostoyevsky gives us the chance to know the murderer and how Raskolnikov murders and robs that elderly pawn-broker. But don’t worry, the way Dostoyevsky tells us about how finally Raskolnikov going into prison without even being caught by police is just AWESOME! You may be wondering how could good people like Raskolnikov turns into evil? He doesn’t even regret his deed to that old women and her sister.

I was trembling and my heart felt like it’s quivering. I was in misery too, just like how Raskolnikov feels after he kills those two people. Dostoyevsky is definitely playing with my feelings.

This book simply proves that you reap what you sow and you can’t escape your fate no matter how hard you try. When you commit a crime, be ready for the punishment you had never imagined. I just felt like I was a criminal while reading this book! I am not exaggerating 😛 Thumbs up!

Honestly, the plot of this book walks pretty slow at the very beginning. You’ll probably get bored but you should insist yourself to keep on reading because once you start to fall in love with the characters, you’ll getting excited to read more and more til the last page. It’s just great to find out how the main conflict would bring you into lots of tiny pieces of  cool story. 647 pages are not as many as it may seem.

Oh! And if you want to read love story within crime, this book is perfectly suited for you. There are love stories in this book, for real. Loving without saying ‘i love you’. The ‘lovely’ relationship between family (parents and their children), siblings, friends, lovers, and even enemies!


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