Prilepin’s novel is composed of a series of scenes from the protagonist’s life. They show him in childhood, adolescence, as a young father and a sergeant in the Russian army in Chechnya. These fragments vary from the harsh to the lyrical. Bit by bit, Sasha’s character evolves. There’s a languid poeticism to the writing and clear affection for the everyman protagonist. Despite ending with a sequence which takes place in Chechnya, this is a more lyrical novel than Sankja. Once again it shows the author’s facility for getting under the skin of present day Russian youth. Sin could be compared to Joyce’s Portrait of the Artist: it has the same elegiac quality as it captures the ebbs and flows of a young man’s life.