Saturday 24 November 2012

The Patience Stone

Finished November 24
The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi, translated by Polly McLean

This short novel is set in a single room, in a war zone, perhaps in Afghanistan. In the room, a man lies comatose, unmoving, being tended to my a woman. As we discover this woman is his wife, and he has been injured as a result of a fight. The woman's relatives, including her husband's family have abandoned her and her children, and she struggles to look after the children and her husband.
She talks to him, and begins to be more and open, expressing her feelings, her secrets, her innermost thoughts. He is for her the patience stone, the stone that absorbs all secrets until it finally explodes, the stone of a fable that she has been told.
Despite the fact that the reader only sees what happens within the room, the world outside intrudes. The war, the destruction, the uncertainty all show themselves. This is a story that reveals the life of a woman in a very restrictive society, the struggles and the actions women must take to keep going.

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