This blog is for everyone who uses words.

The ordinary-sized words are for everyone, but the big ones are especially for children.

Saturday, 4 June 2016

Saturday Rave: Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky

I put off reading Crime and Punishment for about half a century - and, quite honestly, I would have put off reading it for longer if my daughter had been able to find the Home Magazine section of our local WH Smith's.

It was my birthday, you see, and my daughter was looking for an extra present for me. I'd asked her for a Home Magazine (always enjoying, as I do, a chance to marvel at other people's willingness to live with plastic palm trees etc).

But, as I said, she couldn't find any Home Magazines so she bought me Crime and Punishment instead - and then, of course, I had to read it.

I was expecting wall to wall gloom (rather, now I come to think about it, like several recent Home Magazines), but that wasn't how Crime and Punishment turned out to be. There's a feverish energy about the book. It's black, certainly, but not really gloomy.

There's murder, hatred, madness, misery, and one of the very best death scenes I've ever read; but there's genuine virtue, too, and a huge empathy with even the most despised and depraved of mankind.

It also has a very surprising ending indeed.

So Crime and Punishment turned out not only to be a great masterpiece (which I already knew) but one that turned out to be not nearly as repulsive as I'd thought. 

Strongly recommended.

Word To Use Today: crime. This word comes from the Old French from the Latin crīmen which means verdict, accusation or crime.

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