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Crime And Punishment


Fyodor Dostoeveky

Crime And Punishment
average rating is 4 out of 5

Existentialism, Classics, Russian Literature, Crime

R. Alex Jenkins

Do ever feel that you've read a book before, even swear on it, but have no memory of it? That strange feeling of visiting a place in the past or leaving half a cup of coffee lying around, only to discover you know nothing about it. Like self-inflicted gaslighting?

Crime and Punhishment was a complete mystery to me.

Isn't it striking, also, that old and stuffy novels can be so fluid and easy to read? It never fails to amaze me, but good literature is good literature for a reason.

Throw away misconceptions of antiquated and boring dialogue from centuries ago. Yes, it's often slow, political, introverted and deranged, especially some of the police cross-examinations and dream sequences that move in and out of delirium, but the narrative is sometimes zip-along electrifying everywhere else.

Dostoyevsky places you in the heart of poverty, in shabby clothes, low prospects of getting better, along undecided pathways in privileged yet abject mire, materially and psychologically. He has an incredible ability to describe every last detail and make it seem interesting, and to convey plot lines in a satisfying and conclusive manner with no loose ends.

It's the ultimate long-winded tale of existentialism in which nothing is decided until the last possible moment, as we self-inflict our punishment or decide to live a happy life instead. It's entirely up to us.

However, this is not the sort of book you can jump into and reel off in a couple of hours, nor read too meticulously because of how it gets bogged down, making for a strange paradox. This is a minor drawback, how cumbersome it is to digest in major chunks, almost a struggle as you get weighed down with the ultimately depressing pointlessness of it all.

Even though this is a bleak read, it's a surprisingly rampant, enjoyable, antagonistic and anti-social, balancing emotions between love, hate and moral viewpoints. Dystopian at times with no real direction, contradicted by incredible certainty at what it wants to say. The real winner is the dialogue and intimate relationships.

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