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The Patience Stone Paperback – 6 Jan 2011

3.9 out of 5 stars 17 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage (6 Jan. 2011)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099539543
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099539544
  • Product Dimensions: 12.9 x 1 x 19.8 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.9 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (17 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 56,231 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

Review

"A deceptively simple book, written in a spare, poetic style. But it is a rich read... It is without doubt an important and courageous book" (Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns)

"This is a remarkable novel, written with a beautiful lucidity... it is a book which achieves what imaginative literature can provide better than any art form: it makes you think and feel at the same time" (Allan Massie Scotsman)

"An important and shocking polemic; it will outrage readers for the truths it reveals" (Eileen Battersby The Irish Times)

"We know so little about the day-to-day life of people in Afghanistan - and in particular its women - that glittering gems such as this ... become all the more valuable for shining a torch on a beleaguered and largely unseen existence" (Metro)

"Her monologue is a direct attempt on the part of Rahimi to rip away the veil over Afghan women's lives... An act of political courage and a beautifully constructed, deeply memorable novella" (Observer)

Book Description

This explosive, controversial and moving short novel - winner of France's prestigious Goncourt Prize - is a compelling look behind the veil that confronts taboos of female oppression and sexuality.

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Set in Afghanistan, The Patience Stone is a partly allegorical tale of a Muslim wife tending to her comatose soldier husband who has been shot in the neck. As she cares for him, for the first time ever she is able to speak to him without fear of censorship and he becomes, for her, like the mythical Patience Stone to which you tell your troubles and when the stone finally bursts, you are free from your torments. But also this might mean the Apocalypse.

The obvious literary link is with Khaled Hosseini, author of `The Kite Runner' and `A Thousand Splendid Suns'. Obvious in that, like Hosseini's works, this is set in Afghanistan and deals with the censorship of women there. Indeed, Hosseini provides a brief, thoughtful introduction to this English translation which has been beautifully translated from the French in which it was written by Polly McLean. But it's less melodramatic than Hosseini's books in my view.

The Patience Stone is set almost entirely in one room - the bedroom of the husband and just about the only character who talks is the wife (they are referred to as `'Man'` and `'Woman'` throughout). We are not even told on which side the Man was fighting or who he was fighting (although it appears to be a civil war rather than Western aggressors). This gives the book a strong focus that makes it feel that you are truly in the mind of the Woman throughout.

Perhaps only by writing in French himself, is Rahimi able to talk of the censored issues in his homeland. But the translation into English is superb and the poetic nature of this short book is fully maintained.
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Format: Kindle Edition
Short (136 p) novel, set in a small, stifling room 'somewhere in Afghanistan or elsewhere'. As the sounds of battle go on outside, and her two small children cry, a nameless woman sits beside the bed of her comatose husband, telling her prayer beads, and adjusting his drip.
Becoming increasingly outspoken as the novel progresses, and as her husband lies there, oblivious, the woman recalls childhood misdemeanours; their own unhappy marriage - finding that she can openly talk to him for the first time in their ten years together.....
I have to say I didn't really get into this one. A quick and somewhat forgettable read; I wasn't convinced that an Afghan wife kept (largely) away from the world would become so outspoken on sex once the chance arose. I found her less believable because of that.
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Format: Hardcover
This simple epigram sets the stage for this very unusual and powerful story: it is both personal, even intimate, and wide-reaching in substance and relevance. At the centre of all comings and goings is one room where a woman attends to her wounded husband. A photo of him on the wall identifies him as a combatant for one of the fighting factions in an ongoing war. The sounds of gunfire, of tanks near-by smashing house walls and of men shouting -far or close by - regularly break into the room's silence where the woman is also deep in thought and prayer. The woman goes about her nursing routines, leaves the room to speak to her young daughters somewhere down the passage, comes back, refreshes the feeding tube, washes her husband's motionless body and, settling back beside him, continues counting her prayer beads while reciting one of the ninety-nine names of God. If it were not for his quiet regular breathing, one would think the man had died already...

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.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this in one night. Vivid description. Thought provoking. It will haunt you. I can still see the house; the husband; feel the despair of the wife. And thank God I live where I do and not in Afghanistan.
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Format: Paperback
I am surprised that Amazon does not have a listing for this as a future DVD release yet, as it usually does for films that are currently playing in (US) theatres. But to be clear: this is a review of the MOVIE, not the book.

"The Patience Stone" (2012 release from Algeria; 102 min.) brings the story of an (unnamed) woman who is tending to her wounded husband, who we later learn was shot when defending his family's honor after being insulted. The husband is markedly older than her. As the movie starts to unfold, the woman is starting to spill secrets to her comatose husband about her upbringing and, more importantly, her 10 year marriage to him. Apart from the emotional state of affairs, the woman and her two young daughters are trying to cope with living in a war-torn area (Afghanistan, presumably), where militia regularly search house by house. One day, the woman's house is searched by a commander and a younger soldier. To tell you more of the plot would ruin your viewing experience, you'll just have to see for yourself how it all plays out.

Couple of comments: this film is based on the book of the same name by Atiq Rahimi, who adapted his novel for the big screen and also directed this (and beautifully, I may add). There are several aspects of the film that are deeply unsettling, none more so than the submissive role Muslim women are forced to endure in the Muslim world. They didn't ask for it, yet they have no choice. At one point, the wife tells her husband about how her sister, then 12 years old, is sold off by their father in order to settle a lost bet, and nothing can be done about it.
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