'A truly great translation . . . This English version really is better' - A. N. Wilson, The Spectator
TIMES LITERARY SUPPLEMENT BOOKS OF THE YEAR 2014
This acclaimed new translation of Dostoyevsky's 'psychological record of a crime' gives his dark masterpiece of murder and pursuit a renewed vitality, expressing its jagged, staccato urgency and fevered atmosphere as never before. Raskolnikov, a destitute and desperate former student, wanders alone through the slums of St. Petersburg, deliriously imagining himself above society's laws. But when he commits a random murder, only suffering ensues. Embarking on a dangerous game of cat and mouse with a suspicious police investigator, Raskolnikov finds the noose of his own guilt tightening around his neck. Only Sonya, a downtrodden prostitute, can offer the chance of redemption.
Fyodor Dostoevsky (1821-1881) was born in Moscow and made his name in 1846 with the novella Poor Folk. He spent several years in prison in Siberia as a result of his political activities, an experience which formed the basis of The House of the Dead. In later life, he fell in love with a much younger woman and developed a ruinous passion for roulette. His subsequent great novels include Notes from Underground, Crime and Punishment, The Idiot, Demons and The Brothers Karamazov.
Oliver Ready is Research Fellow in Russian Society and Culture at St Antony's College, Oxford. He is general editor of the anthology, The Ties of Blood: Russian Literature from the 21st Century (2008), and Consultant Editor for Russia, Central and Eastern Europe at the Times Literary Supplement.
A truly great translation ... Sometimes new translations of old favourites are surplus to our requirements. Sometimes, though, a new translation really makes us see a favourite masterpiece afresh. And this English version of Crime and Punishment really is better ... Crime and Punishment, as well as being an horrific story and a compelling drama, is also extremely funny. Ready brings out this quality well ... That knife-edge between sentimentality and farce has been so skilfully and delicately captured here ... Ready's version is colloquial, compellingly modern and - in so far as my amateurish knowledge of the language goes - much closer to the Russian. ... The central scene in the book is a masterpiece of translation
I was delighted to discover Oliver Ready's new translation of Crime and Punishment ... It is brimful of a young man's rage and energy and bullshit. I adored it
This vivid, stylish and rich rendition by Oliver Ready compels the attention of the reader in a way that none of the others I've read comes close to matching. Using a clear and forceful mid-20th-century idiom, Ready gives us an entirely new kind of access to Dostoyevsky's singular, self-reflexive and at times unnervingly comic text. This is the Russian writer's story of moral revolt, guilt and possible regeneration turned into a new work of art ... [It] will give a jolt to the nervous system to anyone interested in the enigmatic Russian author
Oliver Ready's translation of Crime and Punishment . . . is a five-star hit, which will make you see the original with new eyes
At last we have a translation that brings out the wild humour and vitality of the original
I was bowled over, by the novel itself and the utterly brilliant translation, which grabs you by the lapels and doesn't let go. In the course of my work, I go through mountains of nonfiction to try to understand the world. This summer, I was reminded of the power of a novel to uncover something much deeper about the human spirit
A tour de force built from prose that is not only impeccable in its own right but also perfectly suited to the story, its characters, its epoch and themes. We should treasure this new translation and, indeed, this new book
A dazzlingly agile and robust new translation . . . Ready, who has a practiced ear for Russian dialect and a natural grace with English, is exceptionally deft at navigating [the novel's] challenges ... His ability to reproduce the whole heady brew of Dostoyevsky's novel in a consistent but nimble modern English ought to be applauded
Oliver Ready's version is outstanding in finding le mot juste for all of Dostoevsky's graphic verbs and odd objects (few Russian writers have a lexical range to equal Dostoevsky's)
Ready's translation is nothing less than a wonder. He mirrors the tonal shifts in Dostoyevsky's original more nimbly than any English-language translator has before, and he catches the dark humour that runs through the book mostly below its surface, and best of all, he captures the essential, unchanging absurdity of Raskolnikov perfectly ... Ready's version crackles with grubby, demented vitality