On an exceptionally hot evening in early July a young man came out of the garret in which he lodged in S. Place and walked slowly, as though in hesitation, towards K. Bridge’. So begins Crime and Punishment by Fyodor Dostoyevsky.
Fyodor Dostoyevsky (1821-1881), one of nineteenth-century Russia's greatest novelists, spent four years in a convict prison in Siberia, after which he was obliged to enlist in the army. In later years his penchant for gambling sent him deeply into debt. Most of his important works were written after 1864.
Dostoyevsky's relentlessly bleak story is about poverty and hopelessness in pre-Revolutionary Russia . The central character Raskolnikov is a man unfortunate enough to have a conscience. Driven by poverty, greed, and a touch of madness, Raskolnikov murders two women for their money and spends the rest of the book trying to live with his crime. The famous novel goes a long way to helping listeners understand the root causes of the Russian Revolution.