The Honey Thief

Najaf Mazari, Author, Robert Hillman, Author
Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman. Viking, $26.95 (284p) ISBN 978-0-670-02648-7
Hardcover - 264 pages - 978-0-9807570-4-0
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Mazari and Hillman’s second collaboration (after The Rugmaker of Mazar-eSharif) is an homage to the richly folkloric Afghani culture. The collection of linked stories focuses on customs and legends spanning centuries of the Hazara people. “In Afghanistan, memories are not made of air and light and colour; memories are made of iron and stone.” A poor young man, in “The Life of Abdul Khaliq,” is rumored to have slain a king. Karim Zand, of “The Music School,” is a “mad” inhabitant new to the area. When his neighbors discover the otherworldly music he plays on his rubab (a lute-like instrument originally from Central Asia), they gather around his house. He angrily demands to be left alone, but a mute teenager feels a connection to the music and determines to learn the difficult instrument, despite the obstacles. “The Cookbook of the Master Poisoner Ghoroob-e-astab of Mashad” is about a wily poisoner whose masterful concoctions are “almost an honor to die from.” At the urging of the prince’s bodyguards, he agrees to share recipes that might shield royalty. This entertaining tapestry of myths from Mazari and Hillman will shed light on the Hazara people and their backgrounds. Recipes. Agent: Kathleen Anderson, Anderson Literary Management, in assoc. with the Mary Cunnane Agency. (Apr.)
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