- Hardcover: 160 pages
- Publisher: Other Press; 1st edition (Jan. 19 2010)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1590513444
- ISBN-13: 978-1590513446
- Product Dimensions: 13.3 x 1.9 x 19.8 cm
- Shipping Weight: 240 g
- Average Customer Review: 8 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #176,840 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
The Patience Stone Hardcover – Jan 19 2010
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“In spare, unflinching prose, Atiq Rahimi gives us Afghanistan’s terrible legacy in the story of one woman’s suffering. Anyone seeking to understand why Afghanistan is difficult and what decades of violence have done to its people should read this book. Rahimi is a superb guide to a hard and complex land.”—Ambassador Ryan Crocker, former U.S. Envoy to Afghanistan, Ambassador to Pakistan, and Ambassador to Iraq
“The Patience Stone is perfectly written: spare, close to the bone, sometimes bloody, with a constant echo, like a single mistake that repeats itself over and over and over.”—Los Angeles Times
“This story from an Afghan-born author is a powerful one, giving voice to the historically downtrodden Afghan woman…truly an expansive work of literature.”—New York Post
“[A] clever novel…readers get a glimpse of daily life in a country terrorized by conflict and religious fundamentalism. Rahimi paints this picture with nuance and subtlety…[His] sparse prose complements his simple yet powerful storytelling prowess. This unique story is both enthralling and disturbing.”—San Francisco Chronicle
"Rahimi's lyric prose is simple and poetic, and McLean's translation is superb. With an introduction by Khaled Hosseini, this Prix Goncourt-winning book should have a profound impact on the literature of Afghanistan for its brave portrayal of, among other things, an Afghan woman as a sexual being."—Library Journal
“A slender, devastating exploration of one woman’s tormented inner life, which won the 2008 Prix Goncourt...The novel, asserts [Khaled] Hosseini in his glowing introduction, finally gives a complex, nuanced, and savage voice to the grievances of millions.”—Words Without Borders
"In this remarkable book Atiq Rahimi explores ways through which personal and political oppression can be resisted through acts of self-revelation. He reveals to us the violence we are capable of imposing upon ourselves and others both in our personal as well as political and social relations. In a manner all the more effective because of his stark and compact style, Rahimi recreates for us the texture of such violence, its almost intimate brutality as well as its fragility. Just as remarkable is the fact that although the story happens within the context of a particular time and place, the emotions it evokes and relationships it creates have universal implications and could happen to any of us under similar conditions. The Patience Stone is relevant to us exactly because as Rahimi says it takes place ‘Somewhere in Afghanistan or elsewhere.’"—Azar Nafisi, author of Reading Lolita in Tehran and Things I’ve Been Silent About
"With a veiled face and stolen words, a woman keeps silent about her forbidden pain in an Afghanistan marred by men’s foolishness. But when she rediscovers her voice, she overcomes the chaos. Atiq Rahimi tells the story of this woman’s heartbreaking lamentation to awaken our consciences."—Yasmina Khadra, author of The Swallows of Kabul
About the Author
Atiq Rahimi was born in Afghanistan in 1962, but 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 won a number of prizes. He is currently adapting another of his novels, A Thousand Rooms of Dreams and Fear, for the screen. 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. He lives in Paris.
Polly McLean is a freelance translator based in Oxford, England. Previous translations include titles by Catherine Deneuve and Sylvia Kristel (star of the Emmanuelle films) as well as the award-winning Secret by Philippe Grimbert
Top customer reviews
But what threw me off and resulted in my judgment is the ending, which might be called, at the option of the reader, meaningless or poetic. I opt for the first solution, since we are talking about a book of prose not poetry and I think that taking refuge in the beauty of writing to avoid giving plausibility to the end of a book is just an easy shortcut.
In a language that is at the same time simple, spare and compressed, yet often poetic, Rahimi evokes the atmosphere in the room that is both calm and serene and, nonetheless, held in suspense by tensions lingering below the surface. As readers we feel like intimate observers of a domestic tragedy, yet at the same time, through the special lens that the room provides we can perceive the desolation and brutality of the outside world. Slowly, in sensitively conveyed step, the reader learns to understand the hard life of the woman, her family and background and also the intricacies of a society torn apart by tradition and power struggles. The woman opens her heart, expressing her deepest held thoughts to her man who cannot answer but might well hear her. She discovers a new strength in herself as she applies the symbolism of the black stone, "sang-e-sabour", the patience stone, to her situation: the stone that absorbs all the confessions of the believers... Encouraged by this new understanding, she makes her man such a silent listener, her very personal patience stone. The more she shares her thoughts aloud, the more she spells out all the sufferings, pain, anger, and suppressed wishes that women in her society have been experiencing. The reader empathizes with her as she gains in strength and confidence, finally revealing the deepest secrets of her life. She feels a burden lifting from her heart, freed from all the strains that held her down. Where does the story lead to? A conclusion that is both shocking and consistent.
Much of what is conveyed in this novella is expressed as the woman's monologue, a tragic story, exquisitely and forcefully imagined by the author. Rahimi does not give the woman nor any other character a name to underline his intent of demonstrating general validity of his character's story. It is an indictment to women's suppression anywhere. Nevertheless, the story is very personable and as a reader we can relate to the woman's individuality and predicament. The events in the room and beyond are so vividly portrayed that one can visualize the scenes and easily imagine a film.
Written originally in French, Polly McLean's translation is fluid and perceptive. Khaled Hosseini's introduction to the slender volume is a very good resource for context and importance of this book. With this novel, film producer and writer, Atiq Rahima deservedly won the renowned (French) Prix Gouncourt in 2008. Rahimi is Afghani, and having fled his home country during the Taliban regime, settled in France, He returned to Afghanistan in 2002, where he currently works on the film version of THE PATIENCE STONE. [Friederike Knabe]
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