Ján Johanides’s novel But Crime Does Punish is cast as a monologue of an aging archivist addressed to a visitor. As the story unfolds, it becomes clear that the narrator, who can’t seem to stay on topic, has both a tragic history and the key to unlocking the darkest secret of his interlocutor’s family, a secret that may or may not involve the Czechoslovak secret police, American and Soviet intelligence, Israeli politics, and a tire full of dollars. Set after the fall of the Soviet Union and the dissolution of Czechoslovakia, But Crime Does Punish is awash with paranoia, revealing how the madness of the Communist era continues to bleed into the instability of the present. Written
in 1995, this haunting novel, the first work of Slovak fiction published by Karolinum Press, evokes the spirit of John le Carré and the style of Carlos Fuentes while illuminating issues that still plague post-Communist Europe.

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