Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoevsky (unabridged audiobook read by George Guidall): Why is this book so long? Seriously. About halfway through I checked out the plot summary on Wikipedia and I was surprised to discover I was following along fairly well. But that doesn’t explain why it takes so much text to tell this story. Basically, this guy kills an unpleasant pawnbroker and her sister, guy’s mother and sister visit because sister is supposed to marry some shady dude, guy’s best friend falls in love with sister, random drunk dude dies, random drunk dude’s daughter befriends guy, and meanwhile an obnoxiously chatty detective is investigating the deaths of the unpleasant pawnbroker and her sister. (I can’t count the number of times I said, “Shut up, Porfiry!”) Oh yeah, and there’s angst. Lots and lots of angst. Don’t worry about the names – I had a terrible time keeping track of who was who because everybody had at least three names and all of them were so complicated they immediately fell out of my head the first fifty or so times I encountered them. I still can’t remember most of them well enough to say them aloud. The story is told mostly in dialogue, almost enough to be a play, so I’m surprised there haven’t been more recent film adaptations. Anyway, this is a decently interesting story – full of intrigue and suspense, with a sweet ending – except that at times I wondered if the author was paid by the word. For example, he described the letter guy got from shady dude, then guy confronts shady dude about the letter and recounts his reaction to said letter, then later guy recounts his confrontation with shady dude about the letter to others. And this is hardly an isolated incident: several scenes are described in their entirety multiple times. I guess it’s good if you weren’t paying enough attention, but dude! Hire an editor!
(Yes, I am well aware that I am going to Literary Hell for telling Dostoevsky to hire an editor. Dickens and Austen could use one too.)
(My toes are getting warm.)
Also posted on BookCrossing.