Kevin Birmingham received his Ph.D. in English from Harvard, where he was a Lecturer in English and in History & Literature as well as an instructor in the university's Writing Program. He is the author of the New York Times bestselling The Most Dangerous Book. It received the PEN New England Award for Nonfiction in 2015 and the Truman Capote Award for Literary Criticism in 2016.
A page turner about turning pages, The Sinner and the Saint: Dostoevsky and the Gentleman Murderer Who Inspired A Masterpiece not only brings us back into the fevered panic of Raskolnikov as he murders an old woman, his motives a mystery even to his own sputtering mind, but also to real-life characters, most vividly a Parisian dandy (we might now call him 'gay'), whose nihilism and thrill killings set Dostoevsky's imagination ticking. Compulsively readable, tautly drawn, and richly researched, here is the brilliant study Dostoevsky and his staggering Crime and Punishment-filled, we now find, with intimations of him-so deserves -- Brad Gooch, New York Times Bestselling author of Flannery: A Life of Flannery O'Connor Dostoevsky didn't have any choice about misery-the Siberian exile and the epilepsy, the despair and debts and the deaths of those he loved. All that just fell upon him, and none of us would want to be him, not even for the sake of those books. But wanting to know what it was like to be him-well, that's different, and I can't imagine a better guide than Kevin Birmingham. Dostoevsky was both sinner and saint, and this wonderfully pungent book presents his extraordinary life in the most vivid detail imaginable. Birmingham puts you in the room when Raskolnikov brings down the axe; and he puts you there too when the novelist discovers the face of redemptive love. -- Michael Gorra, author of The Saddest Words: William Faulkner's Civil War With The Sinner and the Saint, Kevin Birmingham has scored a hat trick, delivering three biographies in one book-expertly chronicling the lives of the man who wrote Crime and Punishment and the murderer who inspired the tale, and the fascinating evolution of the novel itself. Birmingham's ingenious braided narrative offers an inspired new reading to those who already know and love Dostoevsky's masterpiece, and serves as an indispensable guide for first time readers. -- Megan Marshall, Pulitzer Prize-winning author of Margaret Fuller: A New American Life and Elizabeth Bishop: A Miracle for Breakfast