“…One lives and survives only if one has the ability to swallow and digest bitter and unpalatable things. We, you and I, and our people shall live because there are only a few among us who do not love raw onions.” ― Jamil Ahmad, The Wandering Falcon
Set in the far frontiers of Pakistan, Afghanistan and Iran, with raw essence of tribal and nomadic life before much intervention of the outside world, this debut novel of Jamil Ahmad takes you to a journey into the isolated and wild areas which now is believed to be brimming with terror groups and organizations.
The book starts with the story of a runaway couple from their tribe in order to escape the punishment coming their way for their immoral relationship. They take refuge in a military outpost and stay there for some years where they bear a child named Tor Baz, who is the protagonist for the book title .This is not a book with continuous flow of plot with previous chapter in nexus with the next, instead there are various different stories from different tribes of those parts with Tor Baz being present in all of them, not necessarily in a heavy role for the protagonist. Somehow author managed to keep the boy Tor Baz or “The Wandering Falcon” in all the chapters depending upon the extent of necessity and perhaps that is the reason behind the name of book. He woved seemingly unrelated stories with the presence of that boy.
So overall the book is an interesting read with mentioning of variety of tribes and their way of life in one of the harshest of the geographical conditions. The vivid depiction of their culture and their code of conduct for living in a tribal society is as astonishing as their dealings with the outside world with capricious politics and people.Author has not forgotten to pen down about the atrocities upon women and their exploitation. Also there is mention of the difficulties faced by the tribes due to the changing geopolitical conditions post WWII. Book could have been much more organized but the feel of those barren lands and the individual story of connected people will keep you bound from the book.
Rating : 3.7/5
In Persian folklore, there is a magical black stone named Sang-e Sabur (The Patience Stone), which absorbs the plight and difficulties of people whoever confide in it. It is believed that the day it explodes after listening all those of pain and suffering, will be the day of Apocalypse. The Patience Stone is the tale of struggle, perseverance and sheer optimism of a woman to resuscitate his unconscious husband, who with the passing of time has been objectified to the woman’s own Sang-e Sabur.
Women has always been subdued and oppressed in majority of the societies. Their suffering and hardship have been veiled by the four walls and all their plights are left to flow silently through the corner of their eyes. Through this book Atiq Rahimi portrays a chilling and devastating picture of the war that Afghan women fight inside of the four walls. The whole story is staged inside of a small house in a war torn locality of Afghanistan. A small house where lives a woman, his husband and their two child. Husband has been left comatose because of an accident during the war and the revival of his consciousness has become the sole purpose of woman’s life. The fact that her perseverance and dedication towards her husband didn’t brought any fruition exasperated her to such an extent that leads to unfathomable and unprecedented behavior towards her husband. As the time passes she starts telling or better retelling the events from her life and from her perspective to her husband. As the story progresses, she unfurled the haunting memories of her past and the events preceding her marriage.
It is one of those kind of writings that leave you awed and gloomy after you finish reading it. You start contemplating the multifaceted nature of the society that boasts its hollow pride on the continuous oppression of women. Atiq Rahimi has done a marvelous job in bringing out those subdued voices of women who are nothing more than prisoner in their own house among their own people, and all for the sake of the superfluous pride of family. His smooth narration tells how women are often misunderstood and mistreated. Where there should be love and honor, there lies hatred and injustice. Women are made scapegoats for the others mistake and they pay the price by suffering silently throughout their life. This small prose brought together a blend of courage, war, betrayal, honor and ever censored women’s thought to the life.
Rating : 4/5