In Fyodor Dostoyevsky's great Russian novel, Raskolnikov, a student fallen on hard times, commits a heinous murder of an old pawnbroker. No spoilers here, right from the get go Raskolnikov contemplates this crime that he believes is not a crime and by the end of Part 1, the deed is done. After the murder, the majority of the novel is spent in Raskolnikov's head, as he falls ill from the mental strain of not only trying to hide what he has done but philosophizing whether or not the murder was a crime.
Although not a difficult novel to read, I found that being in the mind of a man who is a nearly loony strenuous and I had no trouble putting it down for days at a time. Raskolnikov's erratic behaviour and bizarre ramblings were hard to follow. Fortunately, Raskol has a lot more going on in his life to keep us from going over the deep end with him. He has a poor mother and sister who's marrying a despicable man, a new friend with a consumptive wife and prostitute daughter, plus a crew of ne'er-do-wells living around him in the seedy side of St Petersburg. It's never a dull moment, and very inconvenient for a man who would just like to lose his mind in peace.
There were times that Raskolnikov seemed almost redeemable, but sometimes I wondered why his friends and family cared so much for a man who seemed like he hated them. It's quite a melodramatic book, full of violent outbursts and fainting ladies, but it's also full of the philosophical and political issues of the Russia of the times. Some of which is outdated and almost laughable now.
I didn't love it. It's hard to love such a dark book but it was very interesting. I'm quite glad I read it.