The Patience Stone by Atiq Rahimi
I got this book because I saw a preview for the upcoming movie. A wise person once said that books and the movies adapted from them are like comparing apples with apple pie, but it has been a while since I did a side by side comparison so I figured why not.
This review will focus solely on the book.
I had a hard time reading this book. It is short… very short and the writing style is crisp and unfettered with too many details. In fact, it is downright sparse in terms of details which is part of its charm. And still, it was hard to read because the subject matter is hard to face.
I’m a middle class liberal minded American woman fiercely loved by my partner and supported by my family.
I have nothing besides gender and motherhood in common with the protagonist of this book.
Which is why I felt I must read it.
I was prepared to be dismayed. I was prepared to be bothered. I was prepared to be taught a leson.
I wasn’t prepared to have all three things happen so smoothly.
Rahimi has a beautiful grasp of poetry. Even though the novel is translated, it flows like water… it doesn’t stop, it waits for no one, it pushes through blockages of judgement and wariness.
This book moved me beyond my expectations.
Set in one single room and told from an almost God-like place of indifference, we see the final days of a man’s life as his wife cares for him. But it is not his story, it is hers. It is her voice that breaks the silence and tells us of her life… it is her plight and her history that carry the story forward. It is her body that suffers as he dies and her torrent of words that can not be silenced in the almost silent room.
By being sparse on the details, Rahimi draws our attention to what really matters: her story in her own words.
The ending was shocking and yet unavoidable. The writing was exquisite and the plot, though limited by its own contrivances, moved along and took me on a journey of discovery.
I highly recommend this book.