This is an epic psychological novel, the story of a murderer who can’t decide whether to give himself up. I find the plot kind of hard to describe, and the little things about 1860s Russian society (e.g., why are people always “flying at” each other?) can confuse you. But the core of the book is Raskolnikov, and his struggle to (a) realize he is like everyone else, subject to collective ideas of morality and punishment, (b) cope with the shame and dread of what he’s done, and (c) keep from getting caught despite his suspicious and public disintegration. The detective character is also great.
Previous: The Picture of Dorian Grey by Oscar Wilde
Next: The Crying of Lot 49 by Thomas Pynchon