Thursday, July 15, 2010

On Crime and Punishment and Murdering Massive Roaches

Prepare yourself, this might be the most poorly constructed non-book review masquerading as a for real book review.

Several days ago (okay, over a week ago) I was supposed to post a review of Dostoevsky's classic Crime and Punishment for The Classics Circuit.  I didn't have it done.  I didn't have it done because I was only a few hundred pages into the over 500 page volume.  Here I am, creeping along, and I'm still not up to page 350. 

Surprisingly, I'd have to say that my slow reading is an indication that this novel is incredibly effective.  Most folks are familiar with the story of the poor student who murders a pawnbroker with an axe, so I'll skip a brief overview and jump straight to why this story impacts me.  The translation I'm reading (Oxford World Classics, Jessie Coulson translation) is incredibly well-written.  I've not stumbled upon a single awkward phrase and this results in a vividly painted world.  This world is filled with poverty, prostitution, greed, madness, lies, murder, hunger, dirt, and moral and physical decay. 

I feel grimed and hungry and despondent and angry.  There is a palpable desperation in every conversation, dream, action, and character.  Limiting my reading to just a few pages a day has become a necessity.  Crime and Punishment is not an enjoyable read, but it isn't supposed to be enjoyable.  I become engrossed in Dostoevsky's world, but that is a world of misery that truly affects my mood. 

So what does all this have to do with murdering massive roaches?  Let me tell you:
Two nights ago I was on the phone with my friend Catherine when I noticed a GIANT Palmetto bug (American Cockroach) crawling in the sunroom.  My cat swung his paw at the bug which in turn propelled the bug in MY DIRECTION.  I thought it would eat me.  I know, that's stupid, but I thought it would eat me. 
I quickly told Catherine to hold on I needed to kill a bug and threw the phone on the table.  Then I proceeded to beat the bastard to death the the attachment to the shopvac.  And by beat it to death I mean whacking it to pieces with at least a dozen violent hacks.  Bug guts were everywhere, but I continued because I detected the slightest twitch in Mr. Roach's legs.  
I cleaned up the bug mess and picked back up the phone.  Catherine heard the entire "murder" and exclaimed that it was intense to listen to the Death of the Roach.
 My reply?  "Well, you know I've been reading Crime and Punishment, right?"*
The book simply gets in your head and you can't escape it.  I'll finish the dang thing, but I want my psyche healthy.

* Rest assured, I will only be murdering roaches. 


Ash said...

I had to read this in high school and it turned me off so much. I read it incredibly slowly and got way behind on the reading. I never thought about it being effective, although I could definitely see that as a reason for reading it at a slower pace. My teacher said the beset time to read Crime and Punishment is when you have the flu because you experience the story in a more harsh way.

everybookandcranny said...

Perhaps I should have been reading this book this past spring, while battling a massive spider invasion.

April said...

I only read Crime and Punishment for the first time a year or so ago and I really loved it. Great review.You might find it funny to hear that I actually *couldn't* kill roaches for a while after reading Kafka's, "The Metamorphosis!"

Andi said...

LOL! Best post ever. And best bug murdering I've read in a long time. Sounds like something I would do/have done. Must read Crime and Punishment now!

Rebecca Reid said...

I love Crime and Punishment but I agree it's not "enjoyable." That's a great bug story!