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.
Atiq Rahimi brilliantly re-imagines Crime and Punishment and, 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.
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