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The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi
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The Patience Stone (2008)

by Atiq Rahimi

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'you are alive for my sake, for the sake of my secrets', 4 Aug. 2014
By
sally tarbox

This review is from: The Patience Stone (Kindle Edition)
Short (136 p) novel, set in a small, stifling room 'somewhere in Afghanistan or elsewhere'. As the sounds of battle go on outside, and her two small children cry, a nameless woman sits beside the bed of her comatose husband, telling her prayer beads, and adjusting his drip.
Becoming increasingly outspoken as the novel progresses, and as her husband lies there, oblivious, the woman recalls childhood misdemeanours; their own unhappy marriage - finding that she can openly talk to him for the first time in their ten years together.....
I have to say I didn't really get into this one. A quick and somewhat forgettable read; I wasn't convinced that an Afghan wife kept (largely) away from the world would become so outspoken on sex once the chance arose. I found her less believable because of that. ( )
  starbox | Jul 9, 2016 |
Brutal ( )
  aliolica | Jun 24, 2016 |
Disappointing read. I expected so much out of this book, with such a plot, but it is entirely wasted. It was over before I could connect with the woman. It failed to make any impact on me. Reading this felt utterly pointless. ( )
  petrificius | Apr 12, 2016 |
The entire story takes place in one room of a small house in Afghanistan. The husband has been wounded by a gunshot in his neck and he now lays comatose on the floor with his wife tending to his medical needs. As she comes to realize that he will never awaken she begins to tell him her deepest secrets and feelings. She had been told that there is a large black stone called the "sang-e saboor", or patience stone, to which the devout Afghan Muslims can tell all of their troubles and anguish and the stone will absorb all of their troubles. When it can hold no more it will explode and that will be Armageddon. The wife sees her husband as her own personal patience stone and, at first, tenderly tells him how much she needs him but soon her thoughts turn to the suppression of all Afghan women and the hatred she feels for his treatment of her. All the while the war continues outside of the small house bringing occasional terrifying moments when soldiers enter the woman's home.

I wanted to like this book so much more than I did as it sounded so interesting and it won a prestigious literary award in the author's adopted homeland of France. I'm sure the author wished to express an Afghani woman's frustrations, in this case mostly sexual frustrations, but I was disgusted by a great deal of the woman's actions. I do believe that the woman was slowly losing her grip on reality by the book's end (and what an ambiguous ending it was) so some of it may be understandable. It would have earned a '1' star rating from me but I do applaud the author for shedding light on some women's plight in an oppressive culture.
( )
  Ellen_R | Jan 15, 2016 |
This very short book would have been a definite four star read if the ending had not been so mystical. I found it in the course of searching for any new writing by the author of The Kite Runner. (He wrote the introduction to this selection.) It is the story of a Muslim woman, probably in Afghanistan, who is tending her comatose husband who is suffering from a bullet wound received as a jihad fighter. She is in their home in a deserted village and surrounded by fighting. Even though there is never any response, she talks to him constantly as she changes his feeding bag and bathes him and changes his clothes. The entire novel is her "confession" of their life together. She tells him things that she would never say if he were well. The reader gets a picture of the oppression she has suffered and the confusion she experiences, as she alternates between prayer and anger at her religion and her station in life. ( )
  TheresaCIncinnati | Aug 17, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 24 (next | show all)
Although Rahimi creates a specific person, he never attempts to create much empathy. The woman pays a terrible price for self-revelation and the reader gains no more insight than might be gleaned from a garbled nightmare inspired by a late night-news item about the atrocities in Afghanistan.
added by lkernagh | editThe Independent, Alev Adil (Feb 26, 2010)
 
It explores fundamental questions: love, sex, marriage, war and the repression entailed by a demanding religion. Rahimi gives his heroine a voice to speak the woes and indignities suffered by tens of thousands of women in the Muslim world, who have been marginalised, maltreated, and condemned to silence and endurance.
added by lkernagh | editThe Scotsman, Allan Massie (Feb 6, 2010)
 

» Add other authors

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Atiq Rahimiprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Estany, ImmaTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Polly McLeanTranslatorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
From the body by the body with the body
Since the body and until the body.
-Antonin Artaud
Dedication
This tale, written in memory of N.A. - an Afghan poet savagely murdered by her husband - is dedicated to M.D.
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The room is small. Rectangular.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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In Persian folklore, Syngue Sabour is the name of a magical black stone, a patience stone, which absorbs the plight of those who confide in it. It is believed that the day it explodes, after having received too much hardship and pain, will be the day of the Apocalypse. But here, the Syngue Sabour is not a stone but rather a man lying brain-dead with a bullet lodged in his neck. His wife is with him, sitting by his side. But she resents him for having sacrificed her to the war, for never being able to resist the call to arms, for wanting to be a hero, and in the end, after all was said and done, for being incapacitated in a small skirmish.… (more)

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