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A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear by Atiq…
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A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear (2002)

by Atiq Rahimi

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Farhad lives in Afghanistan and one night he is late for curfew and he is beat up by guards. Mahnaz finds him and contacts his family so he can be smuggled into Pakistan. I'm not sure I caught all the meaning in this book, not know a lot about Afghanistan. the book is written very disjointed and it's hard to tell what is real and what Farhad is dreaming. ( )
  RachelNF | Jan 15, 2016 |
Very intense! Excellent chilling novella/short novel of only 147 pp. set in 1980's Afghanistan. A young student, Farhad, is drunk and out after curfew. Stopped by some soldiers on patrol, he's roughed up very badly then rescued by a young widow, Mahnaz, and taken to her house as he lies injured and bleeding on the ground. Much of the novel consists of his stream-of-consciousness thoughts, trying to reconstruct events in his mind, interspersed with distorted and twisted dreams, nightmares, and memories. He thinks of fleeing the harsh political situation to Pakistan. He begins to feel an infatuation for the woman for which he feels guilty--conservative Muslim men are never supposed to see or be in the company of a woman not their wife or family member. He is breaking a social taboo; the drinking was bad enough. The author's terse and incisive style put me right into Farhad's mind: with his dreams, fears, hallucinations... This is a must-read!! Fortunately, a glossary defined many Muslim, Persian or Afghani terms or place names used in the story. For instance, the "thousand rooms" is the Afghani expression for a labyrinth. The cover of the book displays the carpet in Farhad's family home; this carpet is incidental to the story. ( )
  janerawoof | Aug 14, 2014 |
This book is stream of consciousness of young Afghanistan man enmeshed in a physical and psychological nightmare. The meaning of life and the human experience is explored. ( )
  snash | Nov 23, 2013 |
In Kabul in 1979 Farhad, a 21-year-old university student, is out after curfew to celebrate a friend’s imminent escape to Pakistan. After suffering a vicious beating by soldiers on patrol, a mysterious and brave woman rescues the unconscious Farhad from the sewer. A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear consists of Farhad’s splintered memories and dreams mixed with his brief moments of lucidity as Fahad slowly returns to awareness. A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear is a disturbing and masterful depiction of the harrowing circumstances suffered by both men and women in war-torn Afghanistan. ( )
  gwendolyndawson | Jun 17, 2011 |
When Jenn and Nicole announced their Book Club, I was excited to participate. Their first selection was A Thousand Rooms of Dreams and Fear by Atiq Rahimi and published by Other Press. The cover is beautiful and the premise, a young man on the run from the Afghani government in 1979 was even more intriguing. It is a short book, but don’t let that fool you. It is a deep and intense reading experience.

When we first meet Farhad, he believes he is dying in his room and he cannot get his family to hear or help him. His mind runs to his fears of the afterlife and he tries to dispel the ghosts he believes are torturing him by using the superstitious prayers his grandfather taught him. What he doesn’t remember was the beating he received the night before, out on the streets. Slowly, his situation and his unfamiliar location become clear to him. Then, new fears and worries take hold.

There was definitely something lost in the translation with Rahimi’s novel. First, I’m not from the same or even similar cultures or religious traditions, so I could almost feel subtext and dialog fly over my head. Also, I believe there was a lot of beauty in the author’s writing that is missed by English speaking readers. There was something about the structure that made me feel that way. It’s not that I took issue with the translators themselves. There are just some differences in languages that can’t be translated.

For all the cultural distance, I could very much relate to Farhad on a personal level. His gut reaction to imminent death is the strongest example. My religious views have been in conflict since I moved away from home, if not even before. With the current exception of attending Mass (mostly) weekly and seeing to my daughters’ religious education, there’s nothing else there. Despite the fact that I can’t much be motivated to do much more than provide my children some semblance of religious tradition within my day to day life, I would worry about going to hell if I thought the end was nigh. We're worlds apart, Farhad and me, but his experience shed light on my own soul.

A Thousand Rooms of Dreams and Fear is a book I may not have otherwise read had it not been for Book Club. I am glad that I had the opportunity to read outside of my ordinary selections. I read it at the perfect time in my life, making it a rewarding read. I don't know that this is a novel for everyone, but it certainly made an impact on me. ( )
  LiterateHousewife | Apr 16, 2011 |
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Epigraph
Unless sleep is less restless than wakefulness, do not rest!
Shams-e Tabrizi
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To my mother and her abandoned dreams
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"Fuck you father!"
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 009946196X, Paperback)

An amazing short novel about an Afghan student who seeks freedom from politics and religious fundamentalism. Rahimi’s work provides a rare insight into Afghanistan.

In his extraordinary novella Earth and Ashes (published world-wide and now a feature film), Atiq Rahimi distilled all the suffering of the Afghan people into the heart-breaking story of a grandfather seeking revenge for his daughter’s death. In his new novel he once again uses his gift for economy to send the reader deep into the fractured mind and emotions of a country caught between religion and the political machinations of the world’s superpowers.

Farhad is a typical student, interested in wine, women and poetry, and negligent of the religious conservatism of his grandfather. But one night changes all that. It is 1979, and Afghanistan is in the early days of the pro-Soviet coup. Farhad goes out drinking with a friend who is about to flee to Pakistan. A few hours later he regains consciousness in a strange house, beaten and confused. At first he thinks he is dead. Then he begins to remember what happened. As his mind sifts through its memories, fears and hallucinations, and the outlines of reality start to harden, he realizes that, if he is to escape the soldiers who wish to finish the job they started, he too must leave everything he loves behind him and find a way to get to Pakistan.

(retrieved from Amazon Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:08:29 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Iarhad lives in Kabul in 1979, and the early days of the pro-Soviet coup are about to change his life forever.

» see all 2 descriptions

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