Les Hirondelles de Kaboul The Swallows of Kabul. Overview; Awards; Fact Sheet ; When and where? In the summer of , Kabul is in ruins and occupied by. 31 oct. Nous sommes à Kaboul, ville des femmes-hirondelles sans visage, le tchadri bleu flottant au vent. C’est cette ville-fantôme que Khadra a. Readers’ questions about Les Hirondelles de Kaboul. 1 question answered.

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Please try again later. The back-cover kavoul of this intense novella ends with the phrase: But the hirondellrs are indeed the key. Yes, the two principal characters are of course male, the only sex free to roam the city under the Taliban regime; this is Kabul in the year or so.


But, just as if they too were constrained by a burqa of convention when they are with their peers, the men only appear fully in three dimensions when they are seen at home with their wives. Atiq Shaukat is a former hero fe the Mujahideen, now given the sinecure job of jailer in the women’s prison.

But he is distracted because Mussarat, his wife of over twenty years, is suffering from a terminal illness. There is one chilling scene in which a friend advises him to divorce her: But Atiq feels bound by habit, gratitude, and an awkward kind of love.

Mohsen Ramat, the other principal male character, is university-educated and formerly wealthy, but his living has disappeared under the Taliban and he is now too poor even to repair the broken windows of his house. His wife Zunaira is beautiful and intelligent, a former magistrate, deprived of her post without compensation, and forced to keep herself forever hidden. There is great beauty in the scenes in both men’s houses, but great anger also.

The tragedies that follow seem unpreventable. It is an intense book, framed between two public executions — a prostitute buried to the waist to be stoned, and a veritable festival of death in a sports arena — and with religious fanaticism a demoralizing and ever-present danger. It is intense in its language too. But the language also has the effect of enclosing the action in its own hermetic world.

It is a cloistered, contained book, more a novella than a novel, that comes into its own in the truths spoken in half-darkened rooms between man and wife. And there, it excels. Mass Market Paperback Verified Purchase. Excellent story that opens an entire new world. The ,aboul may be at times complicated in French due to the choice of vocabulary.

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However, the choice of the vocabulary and sentence structure is what makes the story come alive. The book examines the consequences of sustained terror on people. It is philosophical in nature and reads, at times, as poetry. I recommend it highly to serious reader. See all 3 reviews.

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