Friday, June 25, 2010

Crime and Punishment

I finished reading Crime and Punishment. With a few subplot detours inserted here and there, the book mainly deals with the internal suffering of the novel's protagonist, Raskolnikov for having committed a murder.

Although, this book is about a man's denial of his own crime, his internal suffering, and the beginning of his soul's redemption, it is also Dostoyevsky's social commentary on Russia's philosophical Zeitgeist and nihilism of the 19th century.

Dostoyevsky's lament over this new philosophical thought is especially apparent when he has Raskolnikov and his prostitute friend Sonya read the rising of Lazarus in the New Testament. Dostoyevsky asserts the existence of God and that even the impossible (like the rising of Lazarus) becomes possible through Christ and that forgiveness is possible even for a murderer and a prostitute. Although Raskolnikov doesn't give into the idea yet, the scene of a murderer and a prostitute reading the New Testament together left an indelible impression in my mind of the infinite power of the atonement.

It was a good read. I liked the David McDuff translation although Norton has a critical edition out with George Gibian's translation.

Coming up next! The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz!


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