Stone Dreams by Akram Aylisli

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'Stone Dreams deserves a wide readership for its literary merits alone, never mind the level of access Aylisli provides to the rich and complex cultural mindset of the South Caucasus ... Because his work is now banned in Azerbaijan, it is more critical to read Aylisli now than ever' – Alex Raufoglu

Set during the last years of the Soviet Union, Stone Dreams tells the story of Azerbaijani actor Sadai Sadygly, who lands in a Baku hospital while trying to protect an elderly Armenian man from a gang of young Azerbaijanis. Something of a modern-day Don Quixote, Sadai has long battled the hatred and corruption he observes in contemporary Azerbaijani society. Wandering in and out of consciousness, he revisits his hometown, the ancient village of Aylis, where Christian Armenians and Muslim Azeris once lived peacefully together, and dreams of making a pilgrimage of atonement to Armenia. Stone Dreams is a searing, painful meditation on the ability of art and artists – of individual human beings – to make change in the world.