Author: Feodor Dostoevsky, translated by Jessie Coulson
Title: Crime and Punishment
Genre: Literary Fiction
Publication Date: 1989
Number of Pages: 465
Geographical Setting: St. Petersburg, Russia
Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished student, has developed the idea that extraordinary men are above the law—and he is one of these men. In order to prove this theory, Raskolnikov goes to kill a pawnbroker he sees as evil and also ends up killing her sister. However, this act brings Raskolnikov to face his own conscience and also leads him into contact with the deeply religious Sonya, who becomes a prostitute to help her family, and Porfiry, the investigator for the murder. Both of these characters help Raskolnikov see his mistake and face the idea of redemption.
Character centered- As the genre would imply, Dostoevsky focuses on the people of the story much rather than the story itself. The reader looks forward to learning about each story than the plot as a whole.
Writing style- The narrator seems to speak directly to the reader while the main character, Raskolnikov, seem to have an inner dialogue. This dialogic form can get long and confusing when multiple perspectives are brought in, but it works well with the story.
Tone- While mostly dark, there are some areas the reader will find some humor of a soap opera nature. The reader also receives information second-hand from minor characters and can lead to some wild explanations.
Similar Authors and Works:
Les Misrèable by Victor Hugo: Contemplating good and evil. Following the story of Jean Valjean, readers are taken down to the barricades of the Parisian 1832 uprising.
Madame Bovary by Gustave Flaubert: Focus on character story. Emma Bovary dreams of romance and excitement, unfortunately, she finds deceit and despair (of her own making).
The Death of Ivan Ilych by Leo Tolsky: Finding salvation. A worldly careerist must face the unheard of idea of his own mortality.