The Patience Stone is Atiq Rahimi’s first book I have read, and it will not be the last. This tiny novel, which won the Prix Goncourt award in 2008, will turn into screams you cannot silence, and unfortunately, you will not be able to let it go. In a room in Afghanistan, you will find yourself looking at a sick man. You will throw up everything inside you with a great character.
The Patience Stone tells the story of an Afghan woman whose husband lies unconscious. Not sure what to do with her two daughters in a city devastated by the war, this woman prays and count beads by her sick husband. But after a while, she sees that no matter what she says to her husband, she cannot get any reaction. The man is neither dying nor living like a human. And the woman begins to talk. She tells her husband everything she has lived through for years, every sadness inside. she talks about all her sins, all her lies, all her rare happy moments.
On the other hand, of course, she continues to take care of her husband. She cleans his bottom, drops his eyes, changes his serum. Her husband is still unconscious, lying down. The woman continues to tell her story.
As you read the book, you will deeply feel women’s experiences in Afghanistan and similar places, and it will grieve you. Atiq Rahimi is an excellent author. The book will make you upset a little, yes. But you’ll pray for the Gods of literature for this incredible book in the end. Enjoy!
The Patience Stone
A young woman prays at her husband’s bedside as he lies in a coma with a bullet in his neck. From outside come the sounds of tanks, gunshots, screaming and, most terrifying of all, silence. Inside, her two frightened daughters call to her from the hallway.
As she tries to keep her husband alive, the woman rages against men, war, culture, God. Even as her mind appears to unravel, she becomes intensely clear-sighted. Now is her chance – her first ever – to speak without being censored. Her husband’s body reminds her of the legend of the patience stone, a stone that hears all confessions until it explodes, and finally, spurred to new heights of daring, she spills out her most explosive secret.
Born in Afghanistan in 1962, Atiq Rahimi fled to France in 1984. There he has made a name as a writer, film and documentary maker of exceptional note. The film of his first novel, Earth and Ashes, was in the Official Selection at Cannes, 2004.
Reading this book contributed to these challenges: