Happiness, peace, dominance, passivity, sorrow, pain, guilt, enlightenment and redemption.
Upon research, I discovered this is the author’s first novel, which I find to be extremely commendable.
I’m going to pretend like I didn’t feel like I was jostled out of a
comfortable bubble of ignorance knowing that a) this book was published over a decade ago and b) this book feels like fictitious reality.
As I write this, I am still nursing the cuts that the overwhelming emotion in this book has given to me. Some parts of this book are unrelentingly raw – and they will leave an impact on you.
The book is peppered with gut-wrenching tragic events and you will ache with and for the pain of the protagonist(s).
It is – initially – set in the backdrop of Pre Soviet Afghanistan, and later, post Russian invasion & the other forces that destroyed the country, and finally, America. The juxtaposition is intricate, and the pre war era
described is something that we probably can’t imagine the country to be now – peaceful, beautiful, happy. I learnt much about the culture, respect and unparalleled hospitality of the people there. I feel the book helps bridges the stigma attached to the word “Afghanistan”, but at the same time, also shows the misguided education and ignorance of those people who commit heinous acts in the name of religion. Ethnic tensions are explored, indicating that, often, passing judgements on a person belonging to a certain community, or someone in a supposedly lower position in a hierarchy, is inveterate.
I want to tear myself from this place, from this reality, rise up like a cloud and float away, melt into this humid summer night and dissolve somewhere far, over the hills. But I am here, my legs blocks of concrete, my lungs empty of air, my throat burning. There will be no floating away.
An engaging tale set in history. Highly recommended.
Looking forward to reading and reviewing another one of his novels!