• Current Reads

      Life after Life Jill McCorkle
      This Is Your Captain Speaking Jon Methven
      The Starboard Sea Amber Dermont
      Snark David Denby
      Bring Up the Bodies Hilary Mantel
  • Popular Tags

  • Recent Reflections

  • Categories

  • Moleskine’s All-Time Favorites

  • Echoes

    The HKIA brings Hong… on [788] Island and Peninsula 島與半…
    Adamos on The Master and Margarita:…
    sumithra MAE on D.H. Lawrence’s Why the…
    To Kill a Mockingbir… on [35] To Kill A Mockingbird…
    Deanna Friel on [841] The Price of Salt (Carol…
    Minnie on [367] The Rouge of the North 怨…
  • Reminiscences

  • Blog Stats

    • 1,081,336 hits
  • Enter your email address to subscribe to this blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.

    Join 1,710 other followers

[94] The Bookseller of Kabul – Asne Seiersted

After the fall of Taliban in 1996, Afghanistan reduced to nothing more than piles of rubbles that stretch for miles. Lives of the Afghani people do not necessarily imrpove at the crumble of the regime. A Norweigian journalist moved into the house of a bookseller who strives to preserve the last remains of Afghanistan art and literature to experience first-hand the ordinary life of a family.

Growing up a book lover and quickly becoming adept in the trade, Sultan Khan is a patriotic man who feels let down by his country time and again. That the Taliban considers those who love and promote books enemies to the society makes Sultan an outlaw who is at large. He has been thrown into prison for this anti-Islamic behavior. His books were torn from shelves and tossed in fire. After he bribed his way out of prison, he reinstates his business with cunning discretion. He hides away majority of his (sensitive and banned) books, about 10,000 in number, in attics all over Kabul.

Sultan revers god and the Islamic religion but grieves over those who blindly follow and fritter away their youth and earnings to go on pilgrimmage. History has taught him to be tough in his dealing with business and family. That Seiersted has spent most of the time with women in Sultan’s house provokes her disapproval of women’s being treated poorly. That they must be wearing the burkas is only the least of their problems. After all, the inveterate belief of male superiority is so ingrained that women can make no choices but put up with any injustices, even when husband takes a second wife.

Unhappy families are unhappy in different ways. Under Seiersted’s pen is amost peculiar family reeling in its own drama. Rivalries between wives. Children who wish to go to school. Coming-of-age girls toil away at the bottom of the pecking order. But the larger picture is that pigheaded customs and traditions fetter the lives of women and the young people. The accumulated hatred against their parents rage inside these teenagers. The Bookseller of Kabul  is a gripping documentary of how a country so battered by war and poverty festers emotional rift within a family, over generations.

One Response

  1. “The Book Seller of Kabul” is an good account of the plight of women in Afghanistan. It was hard not to feel sad and somehow complicit in the treatment of women by the son the bookseller and to feel the shame of his first wife when he takes a second younger one. it is a book about a book merchant more than one about a book reader.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: