Monday, June 18, 2012

Reflections: Crime and Punishment

Cliff Ward opines on Fyodor Dostoevsky's Crime and Punishment:

"I am more of a human being for having read this novel. I hope it lasts.

This and Anna Karenina are almost tied for the best and most elevating novels I've ever read (though Anna Karenina holds a hardy first). It made me cry and wrench in emotional anguish more than most books and less than Dostoevsky likely intended. The Greeks valued this kind of tragedy for its cathartic effect, but I know of no group of sufferers so adept at writing them than Russians. It was meant to evoke pity and disgust and love and pure hope. And that is what it did for me.

I loved this book like I would love a person. Although, it is one that you need to be ready for. You have to want to be made better by it, not just entertained. For example, it’s easy for some parents to give up on a child who seems to be forever lost. But it’s the parents who endure with hope, even amidst seemingly insuperable suffering, that find out what parenthood is really about—they discover, through overcoming, the infinite nature of love. The same type of thing will inevitably happen if you can resist giving up, avoid hanging yourself, and read Crime and Punishment in its soul-informing entirety.

Thank you Dostoevsky for your obvious suffering and for doing something with that suffering."

1 comment:

  1. I must admit I felt more despair than hope from this book. And I would also struggle to describe it as "elevating." I will recognize the book for its interesting exploration of ethical and moral problems, which certainly gives you something to think about. I might have missed the finer cathartic and uplifting details in this one.