In order to repay a small debt, the young student Mitya is persuaded by a friend to falsify a bank bond and cash it in. Little does he suspect that this small misdemeanour will have a profound impact on the lives of many other people around him – indirectly even leading to the gravest of crimes. This in turn sets off a long journey towards redemption and rehabilitation.
Published only in 1911, after Tolstoy’s death, The Forged Coupon examines the deep, unpredictable consequences of every human act, revealing the Russian master’s moral preoccupations in the last years of his life, as well as his rejection of Christianity’s simplistic division between good and evil.
Translated by Hugh Aplin