Thursday, September 20, 2007

Book Review: THE BOOKSELLER OF KABUL



The Bookseller of Kabul

Author: Asne Seierstad

Pages: 288

Personal Rating: 4.5/5

From the back cover:

This mesmerizing portrait of a proud man who, through three decades and successive repressive regimes, heroically braved persecution to bring books to the people of Kabul has elicited extraordinary praise throughout the world and become a phenomenal international bestseller. The Bookseller of Kabul is startling in its intimacy and its details-a revelation of the plight of Afghan women and a window into the surprising realities of daily life in today's Afghanistan.

Seierstad gave me a glimpse into a world I would never have a chance to see, the world of an Afghani family today. Sisters, mothers, brothers, sons, grandparents, and cousins all living together under one roof. The house has been damaged by various attacks…Americans, Taliban, Russians, various Afghani tribes. It is continually covered with dust that one poor girl Leila is forced to clean daily. She is the first one up and the last one to bed, but that is just the way it is, she is the youngest daughter and not worth much.

This book often left me feeling frustrated at how women are treated so poorly in other countries and it is culturally accepted by them. Seierstad gives vivid descriptions of what it is like to wear a burka from the way it feels and smells to how women recognize each other by their shoes since they really can’t see much else. In certain areas of Afghanistan women cannot be seen by men outside of their family. They could be killed if they are.

Seierstad comments on life from all people in the family including Sultan (the bookseller and oldest son), his sons, sisters and brothers, his two wives and other various family members. You get a true glimpse of the different aspects of their daily activities, aspirations and problems. Seierstad really does touch on so many different areas that it is hard to summarize them.

I believe this a must read considering we invaded this nation and they live so differently then us, yet still strive for the same things we do.

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