Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Book Review: The Bookseller of Kabul

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad 2003

The cover and description of this book intrigued me to see if the library had it and they did! The book is comprised of various stories about the bookseller of Kabul and his family. As you know I love books and I enjoyed reading about a man who tried to save his books and bookstore through the many Afghan power struggles. He is extremely persistant and serious about his books in a country where the majority do not know how to read or write, cannot afford to do so and thus find no need for literature. Asne lived with the bookseller, Sultan, and his two wives and their families, and as a woman was able to come away from the experience with a beautiful sense of Afghan women's daily lives and daydreams.
I knew very little about women's culture in Afghanistan and I now feel more confident in my understanding. Along with women's experiences there are also stories of theft, religious pilgrimages, and family responsibilities that pull at your heart. This was a great compliment to the film
The Beauty Academy of Kabul which I reviewed here and found wonderful. Again, this book helped me put together all the bits and pieces I've heard about Afghanistan and put stories to the faces that I've seen everywhere. Although pictures can express a great deal it is the stories that do more during times of conflict.

Asne has other books out on the Middle East and I most definitely will be looking into them. A beauty of a book!

Kim's Grade: A A fast and lovely book.

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