©1866 Public Domain; (P)2007 Blackstone Audio, Inc.
There is no question that Dostoevsky is a great writer. I love it when his characters say outrageous things (more fun than Tolstoy's stories, I think). But the motivation of the murder was not strong enough for me. I liked Brothers Karamazov better.
The narrator was outstanding. I am giving 4 stars to the narrator rather than 5 only because his voice's dynamic range is so wide (from whispering to yelling) that it was not suitable for listening during my commute, which consists of subway riding and walking through busy streets, even with a good pair of earphones. The narrator's voice got lost in the surrounding noise when he was whispering, but his yelling (during the characters' arguments) got too loud when I was walking through less noisy areas so that I had to be constantly re-adjusting the sound level. After listening to more than a hundred audiobooks, this is the first time I faced this technical problem, not because the narrator was not good but because he was too good! So, if you are a commuter like me, be warned.
I really enjoyed the way Heald captured Raskolnikov's inner torture and frazzled thoughts. All of the male characters were spot on. I was a bit annoyed by the female voices, particularly Sonya's, but that's a minor issue.
I chose this reading because it did not have a mournful British reader and was a bit speedier than the other readers of C and P I listened to on Audible. I was glad I did. Heald's inflection gave a nice interpretation of the novel and the voices he performed helped me keep track of all of the characters (and the pronunciation of their names).
Single Father, East Indian, Cook, and audiobook lover (due to all the time in my car).
The story at its core could have been done faster than the author choose to write it but it goes into great detail about every aspect of these characters' lives and thoughts. The part which frustrated me was the in-depth conversion which the author writes, and drones continuously at some points in the book. There were a couple of times I wanted to stop the audiobook but since I was half way or more I continued, it felt like I chore rather than interesting novel.
Place it on the "maybe when I'm bore list, I'll read it."
Highly commended. An indisputable classic and one of the best novels ever written.
Rodya, of course. What a fantastic character study Dostoevsky provides of this twisted genius of a man.
The interrogation of Rasskolnikov by Porfiry. Riveting!
I could not take my headphones off. The book turns you into a misanthrope!
I got through the first 1/3 of this audiobook but couldn't get myself to move on to the next file. Why do classics have to be so tough like this? I kept some interest while Raskolnikov planned out his murder and executed it but then things slowed down as he dealt with the guilt of his crimes. Dostoevsky's writing seems to meander going off on these tangents of thought like stream-of-consciousness writing that does a good job of representing the feverish state of the main character. However, the writing just didn't pull me in. I didn't CARE about any of the characters. My initial interest in seeing what the big deal was with this much lauded author and my interest in seeing him delve into the psychology of crime slowed waned. Raskolnikov seemed like a parody of melodrama with all his swooning and mood swings. Maybe the story improves a lot after the point where I stopped but I could easily see it going on and on in the same fashion until my joy for audiobooks completely drained away. Maybe I've been too spoiled by plot-driven modern literature to appreciate classics like this, I don't know.
On the other hand, Heald the narrator, does an excellent job of bringing such tough material to life. He throws in mannerisms and affectations in his speech to push his work from mere narration to true character creation. Unfortunately, his narration skills weren't enough to keep me listening to this one. I'll have to find out what else he's narrated though.
Eclectic mixer of books of my youth and ones I always meant to read, but didn't.
This is one of those novels I always meant to read, but never got around to. That's surprising given my legal training, but I'm pleased I listened to it, however belatedly. Of course it is a very ambitious exercise to try to capture the meanderings of a tormented soul. Dostoevsky succeeded in the attempt. Still, it is no small achievement and it makes the listening difficult because for most of the novel we listen to a flawed man grappling with the demons of his pride, his belief in his own moral superiority and his disdain of help. I'm not sure anyone other than a Russian of the era of this tale could have captured the desperation, the fatalism and the climax so fully. However, because listening is difficult, it takes some perseverance so that at times I felt as if I was doing the time for Raskolnikov's crime.
As to the plot controversy, of which there is much written, I subscribe to the group that thinks the Epilogue is worthwhile. I can see why some say it is unnecessary, but I guess it depends on whether you want the loose ends tied-up, or not. Of course, be warned, if you skip the Epilogue (particularly its Chapter 2), you will leave with a different view of the book and, I suspect, Dostoevsky's world view.
As to the performance, I can imagine that this was a terrifically difficult book to read aloud. I started with this one (see my review of the Dick Hill narration which substantially reproduces the review above), but I found the Heald version too fast, too frantic and difficult to follow . It is an amazing 2 and an half hours faster than the version I ultimately settled upon. I can't believe that time difference is all attributable to the translation. There were times when I thought Anthony Heald sounded like a famous (and very entertaining) law lecturer, Irving Younger, but that was law school and this is something else. I preferred the less frantic pace of the other version. Also, I had trouble differentiating between the vocalisation of the characters, even within a single scene, and certainly the voices were not consistent over the course of the whole novel. Finally, I found the pronunciation of the tri-nominal Russian names too harsh and not melodic at all. One of the great delights of the Russian novel for me is the character names, but I thought this narration missed its chance to reproduce that pleasure for the reader. Of course, that might have been its intent, but I take the view that the novel is harsh enough in itself and needs no assistance in that regard.
This was a very interesting book. I found it annoying how they kept referring to the hero as smart and intellectual even though he rarely showed signs of that sort. Directly after I read it I didn't really care for it, but a week after my mind clicked and I understood the plot theme of the book and I was glad I read it.
Audible Obsessed wishes she had more time for so many audiobooks.
I started listening to this book because I had an assignment to do. I enjoyed it, but not immensely. This is not a dynamic book since it dwells on the narrator's conflict. It made me feel some anguish through most of the reading / listening. At times I didn't know if Rodya was conflicted or plain crazy.
It is a classic of Russian literature, and every literature student should read it, and learn to recognize the polyphony and dialogism in it.
This is my first venture into Russian literature, and I am pleased to say the wonderful narration helped with the difficult nomenclature.......characters are referenced sometimes by their last names, sometimes by their first and middle names, and sometimes by their nicknames - all of which are foreign to my ears. But because of Anthony Heald's narration skills, I could sort out who was whom and keep the story straight. I'm sure it would have been more difficult if I were reading the text.
This is a combination of philosophy, social commentary, and a murder mystery; the murder mystery is the weakest of all the components, I think, and the murder is used mostly as an illustration and as motivation for the rest. That's OK, because the philosophy and moral questions posed by the book are the real meat-and-potatoes of what makes it interesting. This is not an easy book, but it was ultimately worthwhile. Still, it will take some time before I'm ready again to take on another Russian novel that looks at philosophy and society so deeply. I think I need a change of pace now with a bit of fluffy pop fiction - it's good to mix them up.
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