(read in Russian)

Myth: "Crime and punishment" is a boring psychological book, in which the main character spends half of the book thinking about committing a murder, then commits a murder, and then spends another half of the book swept in guilt over the murder.

For some reason, this myth is extremely popular among people who haven't read the book. A curious fact is that I tried reading it (in Hebrew, back when I was in school), gave up after 100 pages and so, and also had this myth in my head.

Nothing can be farther from the truth, however. "Crime and punishment" is a multi-genre novel, involving several minor plots (all connected in some way to the protagonist - Rodion Raskolnikov), with some philosophical and psychological ponderings, but also with a lot of fast-moving action. In some way I was even a little dissapointed, hoping to find *more* philosophy in the book that is actually there.

There is enough psychological twists in the novel to make you think, however. I found the mind games between Raskolnikov and the police detective especially enjoyable. The stories of the characters are also good food for thought - what drives people to commit crimes, to be compassionate and to take important decisions.

Finally I must note that I found the addition of Svidrigailov into the plot brilliant. He's a old-time crook, who barely did anything good in this life and inherited a fortune from an older wife on whom he cheated and whom he presumably have murdered. He's a man who has done a lot of evil in his life, not much good, and still he has everything (including a 16-year old fiancee). The Marmeladov family, on the other hand, is very tragic. Katerina Ivanovna and her three children, left alone after the death of a drunkard husband, end up on the streets, in complete poverty and humiliation, which ultimately leads to the mother's death. That Svidrigailov eventually helped the children of the family with considerable sums of money is an amazing contrast that leaves a strong impression.

I think "Crime and punishment is a very" good book, and it is highly recommended. Don't fall to the myth of it being a boring psychological tome - it isn't.