Monday, October 01, 2007

Okay, I'm back

Forgive me blog gods for I have lapsed. It's been almost two months since my last post.

But, now I'm back. Of course, it took a trip to get me going again, even though that was two weeks ago. I have to confess, I didn't read anything through the summer after Harry Potter, except for a six month backlog of Chatelaine and Today's Parent magazines.

So, when I went to Stockholm and Dublin a couple of weeks ago, I seized the opportunity. I finally read A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini of The Kite Runner fame. In a previous post I talked about how I wasn't up to reading it for fear of the emotional impact. While this is not the most uplifting story, I found that it wasn't quite as crushingly devastating as The Kite Runner. In the first book, I cried through most of it. In this one, I cried mostly at that end.

Like Kite Runner, A Thousand Splendid Suns has characters that represent the range of classes and acceptance in Afghani culture: the rich, well respected business man, the mistress and her bastard daughter, the poorer but loving families. Hosseini still has a knack for the caricature of good and evil although it is not quite as pronounced this time around.

Hosseini illustrates the brutality of the conditions and circumstances affected Afghani women as a result of the culture, tradition and religious environments that they live in with a stark but lovely honesty and respect for these women. What was quite surprising though, was his incredible depiction of the utter beauty and complexity of relationships between women: mothers, daughters, sisters, friends and rivals.

The truly amazing thing about Hosseini's story is his depiction of the love of country. Despite the volatile events of Afghanistan’s last thirty years: the Soviet invasion, the reign of the Taliban and post-Taliban rebuilding; the bombs, the death, the unspeakable acts of human against human, the people of Hosseini's Afghanistan love their country. They want to be in their country and look for any way to either recreate it where they live now or somehow get back there to resume the lives they miss so much. It left me with a sense of amazement and, frankly, I wondered if I could conjure up the same passion for my homeland.

The travel schedule is picking up slowly but my reading is getting better. I decided to dig into my nightstand pile and I am now reading Wicked, the story of the witches of Oz.

Any more night stand lists out there that you want to share?