Fyodor Mikailovich Dostoevsky's life was as dark and dramatic as the great novels he wrote. He was born in Moscow in 1821. A short first novel, Poor Folk (1846) brought him instant success, but his writing career was cut short by his arrest for alleged subversion against Tsar Nicholas I in 1849. In prison he was given the "silent treatment" for eight months (guards even wore velvet soled boots) before he was led in front a firing squad. Dressed in a death shroud, he faced an open grave and awaited execution, when suddenly, an order arrived commuting his sentence. He then spent four years at hard labor in a Siberian prison, where he began to suffer from epilepsy, and he returned to St. Petersburg only a full ten years after he had left in chains.
His prison experiences coupled with his conversion to a profoundly religious philosophy formed the basis for his great novels. But it was his fortuitous marriage to Anna Snitkina, following a period of utter destitution brought about by his compulsive gambling, that gave Dostoevsky the emotional stability to complete Crime and Punishment (1866), The Idiot (1868-69), The Possessed (1871-72), and The Brothers Karamazov (1879-80). When Dostoevsky died in 1881, he left a legacy of masterworks that influenced the great thinkers and writers of the Western world and immortalized him as a giant among writers of world literature.
Dostoyevski's classic novel of murder and guilt, featuring the conflicted killer Raskolnikov and his intellectually nimble antagonist Porfiry Petrovich, is read by the well-regarded Dick Hill. The combination should make for a must-listen audiobook, but the results are disappointingly plodding. Hill overemotes much of Dostoyevski's emotionally charged dialogue, rendering a delicate series of encounters as an array of outbursts and breakdowns. Listeners might find themselves wishing that Hill would restrain himself from the pitfalls of facile emotion in favor of a straight delivery of the inherent drama and descriptive splendor of the novel In a welcome technological twist, however, Tantor includes an e-book with this audiobook (as it does with most of its classic audiobooks), giving readers multiple options for how they might prefer to encounter Dostoyevski. (Sept.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
"The best [translation of Crime and Punishment] currently available...An especially faithful re-creation...with a coiled-spring kinetic energy...Don't miss it." -Washington Post Book World
"This fresh, new translation...provides a more exact, idiomatic, and contemporary rendition of the novel that brings Fyodor Dostoevsky's tale achingly alive...It succeeds beautifully." -San Francisco Chronicle "Reaches as close to Dostoevsky's Russian as is possible in English...The original's force and frightening immediacy is captured...The Pevear and Volokhonsky translation will become the standard English version."-Chicago Tribune