Recently I had the pleasure of watching Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky, originally published in the literary journal The Russian Messenger in twelve monthly instalments during 1866, before being published in a single volume.
I didn’t read this book, I watched it on BBC TV 🙂 I’ve always wanted to read it but shied away from the heavy text. So, I’m a wimp. I may read it one day. Any of you read it?
Instalments wasn’t sure how the show would turn out, I love John Simm though, and he did a truly marvellous job of portraying the mental strain and moral quandary’s of Rodion Raskolnikov, an impoverished ex-student in St. Petersburg who develops and carries out a plan to kill a wicked old pawnbroker for her cash.
Raskolnikov argues that with the pawnbroker’s money he can perform good deeds to counterbalance the crime, while ridding the world of a worthless vermin. He also commits this murder to test his own hypothesis that some people are naturally capable of such things, and even have the right to do them. Several times throughout the novel, Raskolnikov justifies his actions by connecting himself mentally with Napoleon Bonaparte, believing that murder is permissible in pursuit of a higher purpose.
Born in Moscow, Russian Federation November 11, 1821 and died – February 09, 1881
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In the light of my recent decision to quite literally rewrite all of Finding Luna (scrapping 60 k), I loved reading that after a race against time to publish (because he was desperately poor (gambling etc) and supposedly supporting his sister in law and her family after the death of his brother, Dostoyevsky still said this to his friend Alexander Wrangel in February 1886:
At the end of November much had been written and was ready; I burned it all; I can confess that now. I didn’t like it myself. A new form, a new plan excited me, and I started all over again. — Dostoyevsky
If he can, so can I damn it! 🙂
Anyhoooo…. I just wanted to say that this story, the production of it and the performances of the actors, especially John Simm (terribly underrated in my opinion) is brilliant. So I hunted down the show for you to watch! What follows are parts one and two for your viewing pleasure.
So what did I think…?
Setting: Think Dickens, but in Russia.
Story/Plot: Tragic examination of the human condition. An idealist with a deformed ego and sense of righteousness commits the ultimate crime, and we watch as the plug is pulled and he swirls around and around the basin on his way to punishment . He sounds like a miserable monster, huh? Sounds dark and depressing and unworthy of your time? I know… but there’s more. And it’s this which is addictive.
Character: Every one was in 3D. I mean this was a lesson in making human beings out of words, if ever there was one. For extensive analysis of the main characters, go HERE.
My favourite characters were women.
Sonya was a shy, timid, some might say weak young woman. But she prostituted herself to save others, and she did so sober (unlike many others, and who could blame them), yet still she managed to separate her mind and heart from the physical assault of her job. She worked for her family and prays for them, and for forgiveness. Her innate goodness even proves to be the salvation of our main character, Raskolnikov, and is the light within the murky world of this story.
Dunya is Raskolnikov’s sister. They share many traits, such as intelligence, pride, beauty, determined. But she is self-sacrificing, kind, and compassionate, where Raskolnikov is selfish and prone to intellectualising instead of appreciating or rationalising. Where he faints under extreme stress, she is strong and holds her own.
But there is something about Raskolnikov’s overwhelming guilt and immature confusion at his own mind, at his own actions, which gave a beautiful innocence. And it’s that spark of humanity which is the chink in his armour, the reason the story works so well. Because otherwise, we just wouldn’t care enough to find out what becomes of him. Would we?
Watch Part One
Watch Part Two
Must announce that on 23rd of September (two days!) my first ever Goodreads giveaway will begin and last for a month. You can find it here: http://bit.ly/1duJm1o. Please go enter to win one paperback copy of Finding Esta. If you would, please mention it somewhere, that would also be wonderful!
Also, the same day (I stupidly forgot to mention this huge detail in the recent newsletter I sent out – blame the brain fog) my review tour will begin. Details can be found on the My Writing page. This is so exciting, but also nerve-racking. Wish me luck that the reviews are good, or at least not horrendous. :/
I’ll be mentioning these details for a while, on the odd blog post, just to ensure everyone is up to date with the news. 🙂