I just got the new Pevear and Volokhonsky translation of Crime and Punishment and I'm in the middle of reading it and I definitely think it's an improvement on the other translations I've read. It seems a whole lot more Russian, if that's possible. It also seems a lot more like Fyodor Mikailovich himself wrote it, in some odd way which I'm not able to define, but I guess that means it's a really good translation.
I've read this book several times before but it feels stronger this time around. Next I've got their translations of The Idiot and The Brothers Karamazov to reread. I'm looking forward to it.
Picked this up again not long ago, and I just read the scene in which Rodya greets his mother and sister in his garret in St. Petersburg for the second time. It's amazing the way Dostoyevsky can describe people so well with just a few words, give us a sense of their feelings and make us feel acutely what they're going through. He's really the best novelist who's ever written. I can't even imagine how much better it must be in the original Russian, too.
I feel Sonechka's timidity and self-effacement, Dunia's intelligence and integrity, Razumakhin's good nature and kindness, Pulcheria Alexandrovna's mother's worry, Rodya's agonizing feeling of complete alienation from these dear people who love him, because he's committed the unthinkable and murdered Lizaveta and the old Pawnbroker woman. I can feel exactly how all that feels to every one of those people. There is definitely genius at work. I wonder if I should dissect it word by word and try to learn how it is that Fyodor Mikailovich manages to do that? Would that spoil the magic?
I've just read the most extraordinary scene, a masterful scene in which we're met with the most powerful of emotions and several rapid reverses. Sonia's accused of stealing a hundred ruble note from Dunia's creepy fiance Luzhin, that Dunia just ditched. Sonia's about to perish from timidity and fear, and of course did no such thing. Luzhin is then outed by his roommate, who saw him plant the note on her earlier, and thought he was being secretly philanthropic, but now is completely confused as to why he would do such a thing. Rodia is there and explains his motive, that he's hoping to disgrace Rodia and cause him to quarrel with his sister and mother, thereby allowing Luzhin a way back into their good graces. Meanwhile Katharina Ivanovna is in hysterics demanding justice for her family. The now vindicated Sonia bolts in terror. And Luzhin blusters his way out of the house amid much uproar from the other tenants. One Polish fellow hurls a glass of vodka at Luzhin only to miss and hit the Landlady smack in the face. Somehow Dostoyevsky describes it all in a way that has us following the action on the edge of our seats, at a fever pitch of concern for Sonia, Katherina Ivanovna, and Rodia. Such a satisfying debacle! Dang, I love Fyodor Mikailovich!