For every crime, there must be a punishment.
Rassoul's world consists of little more than a squalid rented room - strewn with books by Dostoevsky, relics from his days as a student of Russian Literature at Leningrad - and his beloved fiance Sophia, for whom he would do anything.
So when he finds himself committing a murder, axe in hand, as if re-enacting the opening of Dostoevsky'sCrime and Punishment, his identification with the novel's anti-hero is complete: Rassoul is Raskolnikov, transplanted to late twentieth-century Kabul. Amid the war-torn streets, Rassoul searches for the meaning of his crime. Instead he is pulled into a feverish plot thick with murder, guilt, morality and Sharia law, where the lines between fact and fiction, dream and reality, become dangerously blurred.
Blackly comic, with flashes of poetry as well as brilliant irony, Atiq Rahimi's latest novel is an ingenious recasting of Dostoevsky's masterpiece and a transgressive satire with a frightening resonance all its own.
Born in Afghanistan in 1962, atiq rahimi fled to France in 1984. A writer, film and documentary maker, the film of his first novel,Earth and Ashes,was in the Official Selection at Cannes, 2004. His novel,The Patience Stone,won the prestigious Prix Goncourt, and has been made into a film. In 2012, it was selected as the Afghan entry at the Oscars for the Best Foreign Language film. In recent years, he has returned to Afghanistan many times to set up a Writers' House in Kabul and offer support and training to young writers and film-makers. He lives in Paris.
"Atiq Rahimi brilliantly re-imaginesCrime and Punishmentand, in a daring feat of creative panache, transplants Dostoevsky's classic morality tale to modern-day Afghanistan.This is easily Rahimi's most imaginative and complex work yet, and should cement his reputation as a writer of great and unique vision."
Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns
"This book is a novel of the exterior, which breathes the very dust of Kabul, the geography, both personal and political, of its alleys and districts.Welcome to Kabul, [a place] with faith but without laws."
"This is more a novel to chew over than gobble down"
Sunday Telegraph - Anthony Cummins