The World is a Carpet by Anna Badkhen
Four Seasons in an Afghan Village

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If she had disclosed more of her own feelings and thoughts, she would have opened the carved wooden doors into this ancient and war-torn country a bit farther.
-Star Tribune

Synopsis

An unforgettable portrait of a place and a people shaped by centuries of art, trade, and war.

In the middle of the salt-frosted Afghan desert, in a village so remote that Google can’t find it, a woman squats on top of a loom, making flowers bloom in the thousand threads she knots by hand. Here, where heroin is cheaper than rice, every day is a fast day. B-52s pass overhead—a sign of America’s omnipotence or its vulnerability, the villagers are unsure. They know, though, that the earth is flat—like a carpet.

Anna Badkhen first traveled to this country in 2001, as a war correspondent. She has returned many times since, drawn by a land that geography has made a perpetual battleground, and by a people who sustain an exquisite tradition there. Through the four seasons in which a new carpet is woven by the women and children of Oqa, she immortalizes their way of life much as the carpet does—from the petal half-finished where a hungry infant needs care to the interruptions when the women trade sex jokes or go fill in for wedding musicians scared away by the Taliban. As Badkhen follows the carpet out into the world beyond, she leaves the reader with an indelible portrait of fates woven by centuries of art, war, and an ancient trade that ultimately binds the invaded to the invader.
 

About Anna Badkhen

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Anna Badkhen has won awards for her reporting from the Middle East, Central Asia, East Africa, and her native Russia and the Caucasus. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, Foreign Policy, The New Republic, The Boston Globe, and other publications. The author of Peace Meals and other nonfiction books, she lives in Philadelphia.
 
Published May 30, 2013 by Riverhead Books. 289 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, Travel, Political & Social Sciences. Non-fiction
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Critic reviews for The World is a Carpet
All: 3 | Positive: 2 | Negative: 1

Kirkus

Good
on Mar 16 2013

A dense, intimate portrayal of an ancient people, peppered with the author’s own charming sketches.

Read Full Review of The World is a Carpet: Four S... | See more reviews from Kirkus

NY Journal of Books

Excellent
Reviewed by Diane Brandley on May 27 2013

The World Is a Carpet is a masterwork of time, place, and humanity.

Read Full Review of The World is a Carpet: Four S... | See more reviews from NY Journal of Books

Star Tribune

Above average
Reviewed by Kathryn Kysar on Jun 22 2013

If she had disclosed more of her own feelings and thoughts, she would have opened the carved wooden doors into this ancient and war-torn country a bit farther.

Read Full Review of The World is a Carpet: Four S... | See more reviews from Star Tribune

Reader Rating for The World is a Carpet
82%

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