Thursday, November 24, 2011
Book 22-Crime and Punishment
ahh Book 22, one of the very first classics I ever read was Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky. I instantly developed a love of Dostoyevsky and picked up everything I could by him. I read Crime and Punishment in 2002 while I was still in university. I enjoyed the darkness of his books, which to me equated realness...because the earth isn't always a pretty place and we humans aren't always the beautiful people we can be. This story is a horrible nightmare about the tortures of our conscience and how internally we do know right from wrong (and yet, still chose to do the bad anyways).The story is also about finding redempetion and realizing we all suffer from the human condition with all its beauty, glory and agony.
I eventually put down that type of reading when I started working in the Social Services field because the harsh realities of Dostoyevsky, the horrid family histories of canadian author David Adams Richards and the softer, but still brutal approach of John Steinbeck, smacked too much of real life. My clients lives were dark enough as it was I didn't need to see it in fiction. I had a few dark years were I stepped away from truth giving fiction and started reading extremely fluffy novels (the wonderous genre called Cosy mysteries which has very little to do with real life). I came back to reading classics shortly before I picked up The Novel 100 list because I realized I had let one of my favorite parts of myself die. I love truth, beauty, literature and beautiful words and when I realized I missed out on the things that the classics spoke to me; I knew I had to pick them up again.
Here are a few quotes that spoke the most to me back in 2002. God bless the things I recorded in my quote book!
"What if man is not really a scoundrel, man in general, I mean, the whole race of mankind-then all the rest is prejudice, simply artifical terrors and there are no barriers and it's all as it should be."
"I have come because I am bad. There are men who wouldn't have come, but I am a coward..."
"I regard you as one of those men who would stand and smile at their torturer while he cuts their entrails out , if only they have found faith or God. Find it and you will live"
"Life had stepped into place of theory and something quite differnet would work itself out in his mind"
Russian novels speak to me about faith and God. Not the north american version of faith with its lulling platitudes and self serving cliches, but real faith founded on both the beauty and horror of humanity. It speaks to me on such a deep level and reminds were I want to be even though I am so far away. I am the person I am because of some of the Russian novels I read during my formative years. I hope I can find my way back to the person I was when I first picked up Crime and Punishment and subsequently devoured everything Dostoyevsky had, because I am so far from there at the moment I don't even know how to begin.....