George Guidall's performance of this literary classic transports the audience to the slums of St. Petersburg and deep into the mind of Rodion Raskolnikov, a young Russian intellectual. Raskolnikov murders an old woman, a money-lender and pawn-broker he considers repugnant. He reasons that he'll repay his crimes with good deeds. Although he justifies the murder using reason and intellect, he is ultimately consumed by guilt. Crime and Punishment is one of the most influential works of literature in the world. Guidall's tremulous voice captures the severity and suspense of this story, making this an unforgettable experience for the listener.
Translation by Constance Garnett, originally published in 1917.
(P)1991 by Recorded Books, Inc.
"The novels of Dostoevsky are seething whirlpools...which hiss and boil and suck us in. They are composed purely and wholly of the stuff of the soul." (Virginia Woolf)
Tremendous audio book, I couldn't stop listening. The voice characterizations were perfect; you got to know each character from the voice. One of the best books I've "read," and by far the longest, but worth every second.
What a great book--a psychological thriller that is not in the least bit dated. Excellent characters make this one of my favorite books. And George Guidall adds to the experience with his flawless narration (including 20-character Russian names!). Bravo!
In the service of one of the greatest works of all time, this narration is up to the task. For those of us raised on radio drama, Dostoevsky paints the most vivid images of person, time and place. As a story of human nature and human suffering, Crime and Punishment leaves one breathless indeed. Apparently. not for listeners with Attention Deficit Disorder.
Before you hear this title, be aware that many other books you have read will seem worse than you thought of them before, and the initial glow of many new books could fade away fast in comparison. At least, that is what happened to me when I read this book. Dostoevsky is one of the best, if not the foremost, describers of our human nature, and "Crime and Punishment" is a work of genius. It is a long book, yes, but then again our human nature is hard to describe swiftly. It is an understatement that I highly recommend this well read masterpiece.
The narrator went at a painfully slow pace. So much so that it was hard to keep my attention. I had to speed up the pace of the book on my iPod, but that doesn't sound natural.
The book itself was ok, but nothing fantastic. If you're considering it, I'd strongly suggest another narrated version.
The best thing about this recording is George Guidall, the reader, but this is otherwise a very difficult novel for the 21st century reader. Dostoevsky is a gifted writer, but his style is very dense with descriptions and dialogue that seem interminable and do not advance the plot.
Speaking of plot there is none to speak of. Raskolnikov, a failed impoverished student feeling sorry for himself and powerless, decides to do something powerful like murder a usurious pawnbroker whom he and the townspeople hate. The only action in the novel is the murder and the harrowing escape from the crime scene. Then it's back to dialogue about his sister's wedding plans and other townspeople and their problems.
Then there's the philosophy. Raskolnikov murders for an idea, something he developed in one of his student papers. Murder, he says, is justified if it's committed by powerful people, like Napoleon. Why should he be denied the privilege? His anguish is whether this idea really should justify his murder. This point of philosophy is interesting but poorly developed and makes its appearance only briefly throughout the novel with no real effect.
A possible impediment to the reader is the Russian convention of naming. The protagonist's name is Rodion Romanovich Raskolnikov. He is known affectionately as Rodya, to acquaintances as Rodion Romanovich, and to the writer as Raskolnikov.
A big disappointment is the relationship between Raskolnikov and the police officer, Porphiry Petrovich, who initially interrogates him. The officer very quickly tells Raskolnikov he knows he committed the crime and that eventually he will confess. At this point the novel becomes interesting and I had hoped a cat and mouse game would ensue similar to the one Peter Falk did so well in his Columbo series, but this was not to be - more long dialogue and more about his sister's suitors. Ho hum.
An epilogue ends the novel, but is simpleminded and too romantic - a good woman conquers all.
The narrator. I had tried to read the book in print years ago and gave up because I couldn't keep the characters straight. The author uses multiple names for each character depending on who is talking to them. It is probably common in Russian and makes complete sense if you know Russian, but is difficult to follow if you don't. The voices make it possible for me to keep track of the characters
Only because it is a supposed "great book". I bought and started listening to this book because it seemed like something I should do once in my life. About 45 minutes into the book I realized that it sounded very familiar. I had checked this exact audio book out from our library a few years ago and listened to it. I'm now about 8 hours into it this time. I'm only continuing because I still can't remember what happens in the story. I have a vague sense of the story, but it certainly didn't stick with me. For the story itself, I don't think I can recommend a story that I can't remember a third of the way through on the second reading.
He could have written about the inner struggles and consequences in a less ponderous and more believable way.
For a classic of literature, I was a little disappointed. Not as powerful as I thought it would be. Expected it to be more like Poe's Tell Tale Heart.
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