Saturday, January 5, 2008

The bookseller of Kabul.

Over the Christmas time I read the book by Asne Seierstad - The Bookseller of Kabul. I read it on my way back from PL and unfortunately left it on the plane (with the Christmas card from M. as a bookmark :-( While I got a new copy of the book soon after I landed , I could not get the card back. M gave me then a post-Christmas card with the same image but I am still sorry I lost the first one I had got. Painting is by Sassoferrato (Giovanni Battista Salvi))
... to go back to the book, I did enjoy it because it was about a culture different to ours and also because it was about the women and their life. The portrait drawn by Anne is both intimate and moving. You can read a short review of the book here.

Then I found an interesting article on this book by Ann Marlow. I recommend reading it as it explains more of the culture behind the book and pinpoints inconsistencies in the novel itself.

The bookseller himself, ShahMuhammad Rais, took action against Anne Seierstad for libelling his family.

"Shah Muhammad Rais, owner of the bookshop at the Intercontinental Hotel and another near the Mustafa Hotel, is taking legal action against Norwegian journalist and author Asne Seierstad for her best selling book “The Bookseller of Kabul.” [source]

A bit more on the book can be found here.


laurie said...

hello, nightsky. i enjoyed that book, too. but i was bothered by seierstad's inclination to put western values on the lives of afghan women. my understanding is that the bookseller himself was incensed when he read the book, denied most of it, and accused her of misusing his hospitality. a very complicated situation.

i also read another of her books, about the first hundred days of the iraqi war. that was pretty interesting too. she's a very brave woman, and she is a very clear and vivid writer.

i'm sorry you lost your first copy! i know how those cards can carry such meaning.....

Tomme said...

Hi Nightsky, I read that book too.. it was some time ago i admit but i found it disturbing and it has stuck in my mind. It was an eye opener for me. I'd have to disagree with Laurie though, I don't think seierstad put western values on the afghan women. I think she put basic human values on the lives of afghan women.

Anonymous said...

update please!!!

Anonymous said...

Yes, please update. i'd like to know what you're reading these days