Tuesday, May 15, 2007

BOOK: The Swallows of Kabul by Yasmina Khadra

I picked this little book up at the library. It was very depressing, but nicely written. The setting of Kabul, Afghanistan during the Taliban reign which is not a nice time or place to be. The story is slight, following two couples as they struggle to survive and deal with their life, especially the women. This is a city where the Taliban have a woman stoned to death in the street for being a prostitute. The story is really about Kabul, and its character and ruin dominate the novel. This was once a beautiful city, full of life and now it is a pile of rubble. The characters were often describing how dishelveled the city had become, and this mirrored their descents into depression as well.

The more I read about Afghanistan and how the Taliban changed life there, the easier it is to understand why our Canadian soldiers are over there, fighting for the Afghan people. The misogyny under the guise of Islam extremists scares me. The female character in this book had been university educated and working before, and then could not leave the house except in a burqa, could not touch her husband on the street, and had absolutely no rights. Sad story, but moving and enlightening.