In this bleak fable of the search for happiness, blades of grass feel more alive than the lost nation the hero seeks to revive. An unsettling read: stick with it and you'll emerge feeling unexpectedly optimistic.
Sufyan had Chagataev stay the night. The sleep of the economist was troubled: days and nights were passing in vain, and it was imperative to hurry and make happiness in the hellish pit of Sary-Kamysh. He lay there, measuring the passage of time, unable to fall asleep because of impatience of heart. In the sky the stars burned like the light of conscience; the camel outside breathed heavily in his sleep; and enfeebled grass, uprooted by the day's wind, was rasping cautiously against the sand, as if trying to walk independently on the little blades that were its legs.