Monday, May 31, 2010

Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevski

I listened to this as an audiobook so first a little word about audiobooks. Normally I'm okay with with them but in this case I had a lil' problem with the voice of the narrator. I realize it's probably a challenge matching voice to book, but when the narrator is a man and has to read dialogue involving a woman, especially dramatic dialogue as is the case here, it all just comes across as drag-queenish. This serious masculine voice getting all high-pitched was just too funny! *ahem* not really in keeping with the intended mood, methinks. I have a feeling Dostoyevsky meant for this book to be read quietly to oneself. Personally I agree. But how else can one read a book and go for a power walk at the same time? Such a 21st Century dilemma.

Anywhoo . . .

My penchant for dark and weighty subjects and my recent quest to read some of the literary classics that I avoided, shunned, was overwhelmed by, missed out on in my youth, brought me to this historical tome. Yes, it's gritty and depressing but there's all sorts of cool psychology going on in this story: criminal behavior, guilt, hope, relationships, redemption. Human nature is such a weird and interesting thing, isn't it?

Towards the end of the story, our guy Raskolnikov has a run-in with the chief of police, Profiry Petrovich. The dialogue between them is chilling because you know that Profiry knows that Raskinlnikov is the killer without Profiry actually coming out and saying as much. All he does is allude to the connection in a suppose-this-and-that-were-true-but-totally-hypothetical sort of way. And this drives Raskolnikov absolutely batty. Poor guy. He figures he could just kill a couple of people and be cool with it because he feels he's *superior* to the common folk who suffer from such pedestrian things as guilty consciences. But no. Raskolnikov discovers that it's not that easy being cool. He ties himself in knots trying to get out from under his own baffling guilty conscience so that by the end of the book he owns up to the crime and goes to jail just to feel better . . . and get the girl.

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