The author Max Schmeling receives a letter from Tibor Schittkowski, an acquaintance he has not seen in forty years. Tibor is dying and is in dire need of help with something, but he refuses to divulge the details of his wish. As Max is indebted to Tibor he is determined to help him whatever the matter and so travels back to the town where he grew up, meets his now frail old friend and is given a mission.
What this mission consists of is however shrouded in mystery, but as Max is pulled deeper into it, his own role becomes increasingly important and at the same time more and more difficult to understand.
Punishment is a dense and enigmatic thriller where not much is what it appears to be, and where the resolution proves to be the very beginning of it all.
Written by Paula Polanski, translated by Håkan Nesser.