Atiq Rahimi

A Curse on Dostoevsky
  • A Curse on Dostoevsky

  • 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 fiancée 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’s Crime 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. There he has made a name as a writer, film and documentary maker of exceptional note. The film of his first novel, Earth and Ashes, was in the Official Selection at Cannes, 2004. He has written two novels, A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear and The Patience Stone. Since 2001, 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.