Posted by: Natalie | July 27, 2010

Bookseller of Kabul’s Wife

Back in March I wrote a review of The Book Seller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad. I was more thank taken with the book, it fuelling my desire to learn more about the plight of Afghanistan’s people and the role the West has played in it’s current situation. I have since read books by Khaled Hosseini, and I am still in desperate need of knowing more; the sadness and terrifying reality of all of these novels has shaken me into realising I can somewhat blinded in my view of the world.

It is obvious that The Book Seller of Kabul was a book that changed my life. Which is why, this morning, I am saddened a little to find that it’s contents may not have been as ‘true-to-life’ as has led me to believe. Michelle Pauli of The Guardian, today writes that Asne, author of the book, has been ordered to pay damages to the Bookseller’s Wife. It would appear that the words of the author showed a distorted view of the family and that these distortions caused an unfixable amount of damage to the family, leading both wives to flee the country to live in exile.

The article is quite damning, obviously as is the verdict on Seierstad. As lowly readers of the best selling work, we may never know which specific information has been fabricated or stretched by the author, but it has forever tainted the legitimacy of the work. This is a shame, because I now feel like my life has been altered by something of a lie! I know this sounds extreme, but it suddenly makes me feel a little foolish. However, this will pass quickly, as at the end of the day does it matter? To Me? Not really. If it had not been for this book to be passed under my nose, it would never had led me to the broadening of my horizons, it would never had led me to the incredible Kite Runner and the potentially even more brilliant A Thousand Splendid Suns.

Just maybe next time, Asne, ratify your facts first.

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