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Bigger would be better
on 22 July 2008
Regardless of the nationality or gender of the author, I read this book in part to gain an insight into life on the other side of the west/east divide - inasmuch as that's possible by reading books. I'm reading lots of books with an Asian theme at the moment - so there is a balance to my reading.
Anyway, I thought this story, and the storytelling, had the potential for greatness. The moment when I cottoned on to a certain character's plan was - literally - breathtaking. But for a story that had the potential for a kind of Shakespearian greatness - by that I mean it could be a mythic, iconic tale - it fell a little flat. Ultimately, this felt to me like a first draft - a sketching out of a story that would be filled in, deepened, coloured at a later date. So often, the reverse is true, and I find myself wishing the editor had had the guts to put a red pen through a hundred pages or so - but with Swallows of Kabul, I felt it needed more, to give it the heavyweight status it deserves. Nonetheless, I shall be seeking out more from this author.