The Patience Stone written by Atiq Rahimi translated by Polly McLean is more of a novella then an actual book. That is not to say that the impact was any less.
In the introduction Mr. Rahimi states that he wrote this book in French because if he wrote it in Persian then there would be self censorship. I thought that this was an odd statement to make until I read the book.
It was disturbing to my western eyes to see what a woman had to go through to survive in her country. There were many similarities to women the world over. Fear being one of the biggest ones, fear of rejection, rape, abandonment, survival.
The woman did what she had to to survive. From the time that she was a child all she sought was safety and love. Things that we all crave. Her restrictions imposed by a war, by religion are things that I do not fully understand. I could understand her pain, her fear, and even her triumph over her circumstances.
In the background of the story is a war. The shells rock the house, the bullets fly, soldiers appear and disappear. The war is a character in itself, one that we do not learn who is fighting and for what. Just that it is.
In reading this book I did have the thought that for a majority of women this is life. I have hope that there is a minority out there that will change this. Men who see daughters as special children, husbands who do love their wives, mother in laws who do respect the women their sons bring home. That hope is a good thing.
“You talk to it, and talk to it. And the stone listens, absorbing all your words, all your secrets, until one fine day it explodes. Bursts into tiny pieces.” She cleans and moistens the man’s eyes. “And on that day you are set free from all your pain, all your suffering …”
― Atiq Rahimi, Quote