|Lurid cartoons on every panel!|
My chunkster Spin title was Crime and Punishment, and despite the completely un-cozy nature of the novel, I really was pretty excited to read this new translation by Oliver Ready. I read Crime and Punishment once before, years ago (maybe 15? after I moved to this house but before I started the blog), and I don't know what translation that was, other than an older one -- given that I was reading a very elderly pocket paperback, it was probably Constance Gannett. I remember almost nothing, but I did find it something of a slog. Well, this translation is not a slog!
The story is well known: Raskolnikov, a student in St. Petersburg, has no money and no energy either. Everything makes him angry, and he lies in his filthy little room and feverishly stews over his terrible, tempting plan -- there's this awful pawnbroker woman, and if he killed her, he could take her money! He's got a couple of rationalizations for this; she's a useless leech on society, and he could be a Napoleon, above petty moral rules because of his impending greatness, which the money would help. But his lack of direction seems to have almost as much to do with it. Raskolnikov performs the murder, and kills a harmless sister too, but he grabs only a few pawned items before running off. He hides those, and completely fails to profit from his crime.
There's the crime, and the punishment takes up the other 4/5 of the novel, as Raskolnikov finds out that he can now never be free of the terrible fear of discovery. His best friends and his family are only irritants. Everything gets worse and worse...
Ready's translation is lively and gripping. I really liked it, and there are helpful notes as well. If you're going to take this one on, I recommend investing in this newer edition; it's worth the money. I have not read the other new translations, so I can't compare, but I think I did prefer this writing to the P/V translation of The Brothers Karamazov I read a few years ago. Who knows.
I'm excited about the next Spin; it can't come soon enough!