- Publisher: Vintage; First Edition edition (1993)
- ASIN: B002VK435K
- Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.4 x 1.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
- Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars See all reviews (1,453 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,040,799 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Crime and Punishment (Paperback) Paperback – 1993
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To give you a few quotes from the publishers website: "We created your book using OCR software ..... with up to 3,500 characters per page, even one percent can be an annoying number of typos.... After we re-typeset ... your book, the page numbers change so the old index and table of contents no longer work .... we usually remove them. .... Our OCR software can't distinguish between an illustration and a smudge or library stamp so it ignores everything except type. ..... We created your book using a robot who turned and photographed each page. Our robot is 99 percent accurate. But sometimes two pages stick together. And sometimes a page may even be missing from our copy of the book. .....". There's no manual editing whatsover.
You get the general idea. Unfortunately, books published by General Books LLC are named, seemingly intentionally, so that they have reviews associated with much better quality imprints. General Books LLC is an imprint of VDM Published (google them on Wikipedia), which is flooding Amazon with poor quality reprints and, unfortunately, many of them have the reviews associated with the original or with beter quality imprints associated with them.
Seems like it's Caveat Emptor on Amazon these days as Amazon certainly doesn't seem to be doing anything to protect it's customers from this Publisher.
This is the reason people started to hate big box and online bookstores when they first started putting neighborhood bookstores out of business -- because they don't seem to care about books, just making money. But what's funny here is that they could actually charge money for the better translation, since it's new, but instead they choose to give away an inferior version and pretend it's the same thing. (They do offer the Pevear and Volokhonsky version of Demons for a price - a version easier to distinguish because the newer translation even changes the title from the less-accurate The Possessed - versions with that title are available for free.) Also, because they don't distinguish between different translations, there is no button available under the Pevear and Volokhonsky version to request that the publisher make it available for Kindle.
It's also difficult to know what version of a book is being reviewed sometimes. I'll be reading reviews on the Kindle Edition page, and the reviewer will describe the fine leather binding. This is especially frustrating now that I realize the actual content - the language - of the book I'm buying could be different from the one I read about online.
Since getting my Kindle, I've been impressed by the machine itself, but thoroughly unimpressed by Amazon's handling of content. They should focus less exclusively on getting people to buy the device, and work harder at improving the way they sell books and other content for it.
To be sure, the book seems wordy in places, but I suspect this has to do with the translation. And what translator in his right mind would be bold enough to edit the great Dostoyevsky? But this is a very minor problem.
What we get with Dostoyevsky is dramatic tension, detailed and believable human characters, and brilliant insight into human nature. Early in the novel our hero meets and has a lengthy conversation with Marmeladov, a drunkard. This conversation is never uninteresting and ultimately becomes pathetic and heartbreaking, but I kept wondering why so much time was spent on it. As I got deeper into the book, I understood why this conversation was so important, and realized that I was in the hands of a master storyteller. This is also indicative of the way in which the story reveals itself. Nothing is hurried. These people speak the way we actually speak to one another in real life, and more importantly, Dostoyevsky is able to flesh out his characters into whole, three-dimensional human beings.
And what a diverse group of characters! Each is fleshed out, each is marvelously complex. Razujmikhin, the talkative, gregarious, good-hearted, insecure and destitute student; Sonia, the tragic child-prostitute, with a sense of rightness in the world; Petrovich, the self-important, self-made man, completely out of touch with his own humanity; Dunia, the honorable, wronged sister: we feel like we know these people because we've met people like them. They fit within our understanding of the way human beings are.
Dostoyevsky also displays great insight into human nature. Svidrigailov, for example, talks of his wife as liking to be offended. "We all like to be offended," he says, "but she in particular loved to be offended." It suddenly struck me how true this is. It gives us a chance to act indignantly, to lash out at our enemies, to gain favor with our allies. I don't believe I've ever seen this thought expressed in literature before. In fact, it never occurred to me in real life!
Petrovich, Dunia's suitor, not only expects to be loved, but because of his money, and her destitution, he expects to be adored! To be worshipped! He intentionally sought out a woman from whome he expected to get this, and is comletely flummoxed when she rejects him. His is an unusual character, but completely realized.
There is so much more to talk about: the character of Raskolnikov, which is meticulously and carefully revealed; the sense of isolation which descends on him after committing his crime; the cat and mouse game played on him by the police detective. I could go on and on. I haven't even mentioned the historical and social context in which this takes place. Suffice to say this is a very rich book.
Do not expect it to be a rip-roaring page turner. Sit down, relax, take your time, and savor it. It will be a very rewarding experience. And thank you SL, for recommending it.