The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi

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Synopsis

“For far too long, Afghan women have been faceless and voiceless. Until now. With The Patience Stone, Atiq Rahimi gives face and voice to one unforgettable woman–and, one could argue, offers her as a proxy for the grievances of millions…it is a rich read, part allegory, part a tale of retribution, part an exploration of honor, love, sex, marriage, war.  It is without doubt an important and courageous book.” from the introduction by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns

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. Yet she cares, and she speaks to him. She even talks to him more and more, opening up her deepest desires, pains, and secrets. While in the streets rival factions clash and soldiers are looting and killing around her, she speaks of her life, never knowing if her husband really hears. And it is an extraordinary confession, without restraint, about sex and love and her anger against a man who never understood her, who mistreated her, who never showed her any respect or kindness. Her admission releases the weight of oppression of marital, social, and religious norms, and she leads her story up to the great secret that is unthinkable in a country such as Afghanistan. Winner of the Prix Goncourt, The Patience Stone captures with great courage and spare, poetic, prose the reality of everyday life for an intelligent woman under the oppressive weight of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.


From the Hardcover edition.
 

About Atiq Rahimi

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Atiq Rahimi was born in Afghanistan in 1962, and fled to France in 1984. There he has become renowned as a maker of documentary and feature films, and as a writer. The film of his novel Earth and Ashes was in the Official Selection at Cannes in 2004 and has won a number of prizes. A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear has also been adapted for the screen. His adaptation of The Patience Stone, which he co-wrote and directed, was also recently made into a feature film. Since 2001 Rahimi has returned to Afghanistan to set up a Writers' House in Kabul and to offer support and training to young Afghan writers and filmmakers. His new novel, A Curse on Dostoevsky is forthcoming from Other Press. He lives in Paris.Erdag Göknar, a scholar and literary translator, is Assistant Professor of Turkish Studies at Duke University and is the award-winning translator of Orhan Pamuk's best-selling novel, My Name is Red.Sarah Maguire is an award-winning poet as well as translator and founder of the Poetry Translation Centre based in the UK.Yama Yari co-translated A Thousand Rooms with Maguire at the Poetry Translation Center.Polly McLean is a freelance translator in Oxford, UK. She has translated titles by Catherine Deneuve and Sylvia Kristel (star of the Emmanuelle films) as well as the award-winning Secret by Philippe Grimbert.
 
Published December 15, 2009 by Other Press. 161 pages
Genres: Education & Reference, Literature & Fiction. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for The Patience Stone

The Guardian

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As she tells her husband, his father "was proud of you when you were fighting for freedom .

Apr 23 2010 | Read Full Review of The Patience Stone

The Guardian

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From the very first scene-setting sentence – "Somewhere in Afghanistan, or elsewhere" – it seems to slip away from reality into the equivocal phraseology of the fairytale.

Jan 22 2011 | Read Full Review of The Patience Stone

Examiner

With The Patience Stone, Atiq Rahimi gives face and voice to one unforgettable woman–and, one could argue, offers her as a proxy for the grievances of millions…it is a rich read, part allegory, part a tale of retribution, part an exploration of honor, love, sex, marriage, war.

Jun 03 2013 | Read Full Review of The Patience Stone

The Bookbag

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Jan 09 2011 | Read Full Review of The Patience Stone

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Feb 05 2010 | Read Full Review of The Patience Stone

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