The Patience Stone

Front Cover
Other Press, Jan 19, 2010 - Fiction - 160 pages
10 Reviews
“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.

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LibraryThing Review

User Review  - K3ndra28 - LibraryThing

Around the World in Books Challenge: Afghanistan This book was a whirlwind and I basically read it in one go. By the end I was left stunned. The entirety of this book is set in one room and, although ... Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - petrificius - LibraryThing

Disappointing read. I expected so much out of this book, with such a plot, but it is entirely wasted. It was over before I could connect with the woman. It failed to make any impact on me. Reading this felt utterly pointless. Read full review

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About the author (2010)

Atiq Rahimi was born in Afghanistan in 1962, and fled to France in 1984, where he became the Prix Goncourt-winning author of The Patience Stone in 2008, and directed the film version of his novel Earth and Ashes, which won the Prix du Regard vers l'Avenir at Cannes in 2004. His adaptation of The Patience Stone, which he cowrote and directed, was the Afghan entry for the Best Foreign Language Film at the Academy Awards. He has recently set up a Writers' House in Kabul to provide support and training to young writers and filmmakers. He lives in Paris.

Polly McLean was born in South Africa, grew up in Paris, and made her career as a freelance translator in Oxford, England. Winner of the 2009 Scott Moncrieff Prize for French translation, she has translated titles by actresses Catherine Deneuve and Sylvia Kristel, as well as acclaimed works by the award-winning author Philippe Grimbert.

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