The Patience Stone

The Patience Stone

Sang-e Saboor

Book - 2009
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"For far too long, Afghan women have been faceless and voiceless. Until now. With The Patience Stone , Atiq Rahimi gives face and voice to one unforgettable woman-and, one could argue, offers her as a proxy for the grievances of is a rich read, part allegory, part a tale of retribution, part an exploration of honor, love, sex, marriage, war.  It is without doubt an important and courageous book." from the introduction by Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns

In Persian folklore, Syngue Sabour is the name of a magical black stone, a patience stone, which absorbs the plight of those who confide in it. It is believed that the day it explodes, after having received too much hardship and pain, will be the day of the Apocalypse. But here, the Syngue Sabour is not a stone but rather a man lying brain-dead with a bullet lodged in his neck. His wife is with him, sitting by his side. But she resents him for having sacrificed her to the war, for never being able to resist the call to arms, for wanting to be a hero, and in the end, after all was said and done, for being incapacitated in a small skirmish. Yet she cares, and she speaks to him. She even talks to him more and more, opening up her deepest desires, pains, and secrets. While in the streets rival factions clash and soldiers are looting and killing around her, she speaks of her life, never knowing if her husband really hears. And it is an extraordinary confession, without restraint, about sex and love and her anger against a man who never understood her, who mistreated her, who never showed her any respect or kindness. Her admission releases the weight of oppression of marital, social, and religious norms, and she leads her story up to the great secret that is unthinkable in a country such as Afghanistan. Winner of the Prix Goncourt, The Patience Stone captures with great courage and spare, poetic, prose the reality of everyday life for an intelligent woman under the oppressive weight of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.
Publisher: New York : Other Press, [2009]
Copyright Date: ©2009
ISBN: 9781590513446
Branch Call Number: FIC Rahim
Characteristics: xii, 141 pages
Additional Contributors: McLean, Polly - Translator


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Oct 30, 2016

A short and very intense story that may appeal to readers of Khaled Hosseini. I loved the concept of the story and originally loved the the intensity of the emotion but I thought it lost it's focus along the way and felt a bit lukewarm about it by the end. This was no doubt, a contentious book for this Afghani author to write.

Cdnbookworm Feb 11, 2013

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.

Sep 09, 2012

I appreciate that the book aims to illuminate the inferior status of women in Afghanistan and I appreciate a male author caring enough about this issue to write a book on the topic.

The novel is written like a play; actually, it reminds me somewhat of "Waiting for Godot". To be honest, I grew impatient with the writing style and ended up not finishing the book. I wanted to like it but I didn't.

Aug 01, 2012

2008 Prix Goncourt.
A soliloquy by a woman to her sick husband. Her life, her secrets. Excellent insight into Afghanistan.

Nov 24, 2011

This is an interesting little book that my sister recommended. It is the conversation of an Afghan woman to her comatose husband. It is a book of emotions; confessions; the sacrifices a woman makes when living in an arranged marriage in a society that does not value women; it is about life. It is a book that will stay with you long after you have finished reading it.

Sep 08, 2011

Requested this on the basis of some reviews and that it had won the Prix Goncourt. If this is the standard for that panel, I'm not going to make that mistake again. Is it well-written? Yes, in the sense of the author firmly establishing the time and place that the characters inhabit. And no, in the sense of what those characters do. Some authors can write convincingly in other voices (gender, race, etc.), but this man does not. I finished it because it was a short book and I hoped it would redeem itself and demonstrate why it had won such a prestigious award. It didn't, and I felt sad & dirty after reading what came across to me as a nasty-spirited, woman-hating book.

Facchintr Jun 23, 2010

Gripping...a one-sitting book. This book took my breath away and left me stunned for quite some time afterwards.

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