I have not read the original version of Crime and Punishment. To be honest, I’m quite scared of it. When I was really young, I heard that C&P and War & Peace were the two long, tough, boring Russian novels (I think I heard this from Charlie Brown, actually…), so that set in me a fear of these two books. Even though I’ve read lots of Russian novels now, including chunksters like Anna Karenina, I’m still terrified of C&P and W&P.
I sort of have a reason to be, because there are very few Russian authors that I’ve enjoyed. I like Nabokov, but he hardly counts. One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich was good. The Death of Ivan Ilyich and Fathers and Sons were okay. Other than that, I think I’ve hated every other Russian book I’ve tried to read. Dr. Zhivago. Anna Karenina. And so on.
So when I saw this graphic novel adaptation of Crime & Punishment, adapted by the same person as Kafka’s The Trial and published in the same line, I decided to give it a try. I hoped it would induce me to brave the original version. Unfortunately, I think it has done the exact opposite.
The graphic novel adaptation sets the story in modern Russia, but other than that, it supposedly makes no plot changes from the original. Obviously I can’t verify that. I recognize Russian literature traits in it. Sideplots that come out of no where and have very little to do with the main plot. Philosophical discussions and train of thought. Heavy emphasis on politics. None of these things make me want to read the chunkster version of C&P. I also didn’t like the characters – they were all just lowlife criminals – and I’m pretty sure I’d feel the same in the real book, too. I don’t want to waste my time reading about people I’d hate. I know in the end that’s not probably what I’m supposed to feel about the characters, but I do. I just have no sympathy with people who are smart enough to turn their minds in circles in order to justify low living, no matter what their government is like.
Also, though it’s been a week, thinking about this GN still makes me sick to my stomach because it depicted several scenes of drug use (that whole modernization thing) and I have a phobia of that sort of thing. It’s worse in graphic form. I wish I hadn’t read it at all. I’m trying to forget.
That’s all. It’s probably bad of me to dismiss the real book based on the GN, but I am. I’ve never been overly fond of Russian lit and I have a different book by Dostoevsky that I actually want to read. I’ll stick to that one.