I’ve always had a soft spot for Russian literature, which is a big part of the reason why I spent a semester studying abroad in St. Petersburg. Dostoevsky is a particular favorite. In “Crime and Punishment,” he used real addresses from the city to set his events.
A friend and I decided that we couldn’t miss the opportunity to visit the locations where some of our favorite fictional characters earned their notoriety. The Haymarket neighborhood was right on the map, and it was apparent why Raskolnikov found it so easy to wander aimlessly there.
Raskolnikov’s house was the easiest to find. As a testament to Russians’ great respect for literature, it even had a commemorative plaque on the front. The slightly more difficult task was locating the apartment building where he axed the old lady, which was unmarked. After circling the building, we noticed that a back door stood ever so slightly ajar. We decided to get as close as we could to Apt. 74. As we climbed the staircase, glass from a broken window covered the floor, further setting the mood, until we finally found the apartment itself (which was locked).
It was incredibly exciting to be able to visit the location where one fictional character murdered another in a story told by one of the greatest novelists of all time.