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Why are you dissatisfied with me? Sultan told her to pull herself together. He pursued Seierstad to her homeland, threatening legal action and demanding retractions and apologies. The vehemence of his accusations so unsettled the author, now in her late 30s, that she agreed to meet him only with her own father present, on the theory that he would demonstrate more respect for a man older than himself than he would for her alone.

The Bookseller Of Kabul by Asne Seierstad | Hachette UK

More recently, Rais has come out with a literary riposte: a slim English-language volume that tells his side of the story. The sound of clamorous Kabul traffic leached through the sleet-streaked windows. Book Co. In his telling, a pair of Norwegian trolls with magical powers appear to him and agree to hear his pleas for redress. He rails at what he considers her abuse of his hospitality, a sacred tenet in Afghan society. He insists that she misread the dynamics of Afghan family life, with its web of obligations and subsuming of individual happiness.

He still chokes on a graphic description of his aged mother in a public bath -- a shaming violation of her womanhood, he said. Seierstad has long since moved on. Rais, too, has embarked on a new chapter. His family is widely scattered now, his first wife and three children in Canada, the second wife and two other children in Oslo.

Two grown sons help Rais run the business. Although his demeanor is calm, the bitterness Rais feels toward Seierstad is echoed by his disillusionment with what he sees as scant progress in Afghanistan since the U. After years of hardship that included jail, beatings and death threats during the Taliban era, the bookseller believes that the Western powers have squandered a chance to rebuild Afghan society.


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A suicide bombing nearby had shaken the building a few days earlier, but by Afghan standards, the bookshop appeared to be flourishing. Big price tags on high-end books in English, aimed mainly at a foreign audience, help subsidize schoolbooks for hundreds of students, Rais said. The Matriarch Ch Temptations Ch The Call from Ali Ch The Smell of Dust Ch An Attempt Ch Can God Die?

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Bookseller of Kabul

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