A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear

Atiq Rahimi, trans. from Dari by Sarah Maguire and Yama Yari, Other Press, $15.95 trade paper (172p) ISBN 978-1-59051-361-3
Rahimi (The Patience Stone) overcomes a stuttering start to deliver an original and utterly personal account of the pressures a totalitarian society exerts on the individual in 1979 Afghanistan, before the Soviet invasion. After soldiers brutally beat Farhad, a sensitive 21-year-old student, he begins to grasp the less obvious but equally horrific abuse of Afghan women by the patriarchal, Islamo-fascist order. When Mahnaz, a grieving widow, rescues Farhad from the Kabul gutter where he lies bleeding and unconscious, he must come to grips with his own father's ignominious behavior and with the drastic plight of women like Mahnaz. In a particularly imaginative twist, Farhad becomes obsessed with the elaborate carpets that are such a part of daily life, realizing eventually that these beautiful household objects are merely metaphors for the ongoing tragedy that is the existence of the women who made them. A flawless translation does justice to Rahimi's taut, highly calibrated prose. (Jan.)
Reviewed on: 11/29/2010
Release date: 01/01/2011
Paperback - 152 pages - 978-0-09-946196-8
Peanut Press/Palm Reader - 99 pages - 978-1-59051-362-0
Open Ebook - 160 pages - 978-1-4481-0460-4
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