Crime and Punishment
How Raskolnikov, a former student, deluded, kind, handsome, mercilessly intellectual, comes half-dreaming with a borrowed hatchet to murder an old woman money-lender, is the central action of Crime and Punishment. From its opening pages Dostoyevsky attaches us unreservedly to his hero, creating an intimacy that is claustrophobic, full of tension, and as haunting and relentless as a love affair. Begun as a novel concerned with the psychology of a crime and the processes of guilt, it surpasses itself to take on the tragic force of myth. "It is the king of murder stories. And of detective stories. And of thrillers . . ." writes John Jones in his classic study of Dostoyevsky, calling Crime and Punishment "the most accessible and exciting novel in the world."
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