Synopsis: Dostoevsky’s novel looks at what happens when a poor former student kills a pawnbroker in order to test his hypothesis regarding the supreme right of some people to kill to change society.
My Thoughts: It is hard for me to comment on this book. I really wanted to like it. I really did. Only I found it very hard to follow at times, mainly because of the many names each character has. I know that this is common in Russia, where people use first and middle name and often have pet-names, but for me this made it very hard to follow who was who.
I think part of my problem was with the translation. It felt incredibly clunky at times. It was choppy and just plain weird at times. I was rather worried when I realised my edition didn’t have a named translator. That is never a good sign I have found.
Underneath these issues it was a good story. The exploration of a deranged mind can be quite interesting. In part it reminded me of “That Scottish Play”, with the guilty conscience causing an individual to go completely insane. It was also an interesting look at morality. Can someone actually have a right to kill someone? The answer in this book is unequivocally no. But at the same time it does seem to say that there are other crimes that are worse. Luzhin is shown to be the scoundrel that Raskolnikov believes him to be and Svidrigailov too gets the punishment he deserves, whereas there are mitigating circumstances for Raskolnikov.
Although I didn’t completely love this book, I am willing to give another translation a try. I think I would like it.