Recently, I hit upon another venue for information when I was literally surfing blogspot blogs. I happened upon Home in Kabul, a blog kept by an Afghan American woman who has moved [back] to Kabul. Home in Kabul also has a great link list of other blogs to look at if you're interested in Afghanistan or in Islam. All the day-to-day internet reads offer some very different material from what American publishing companies tend to buy into and distribute over here.
Yesterday, Home in Kabul posted that she agrees with other Afghan reviewers that BOOKSELLER OF KABUL is exploitative and misrepresentative. She also posted this link, from the blog Afghanistanica, and this review of A THOUSAND SPLENDID SUNS from a Pakistani blog called Daily Times.
The question they both ask is interesting, especially for people like me, who have zero understanding of Afghanistan outside of what filters into the American commercial literary market (sadness). That question is what have these portrayals of the brutalities suffered by Afghan women damaged the American/"Western" perception of the entire culture? Are American readers inclined to cluck their tongues and write off the the country as completely alien because their main understanding is that the whole country is "inherently misogynistic"?
And then... I'll just paste from the Daily Times review here:
In Gayatri Spivak’s now oft-quoted words, Hosseini’s tale (especially in light of the Allied invasion of Afghanistan) can quite literally be construed as yet another instance of “white men saving brown women from brown men.”
Yet allowing for such critiques leads us to an even more untenable thesis. Should the grim reality of abuse be abridged and disguised simply because it promotes negative stereotypes? Is the suffering of Afghan women not worthy of representation in literature because it can be appropriated for political agendas?”
Anyway. I'm always looking for new things to read and new ways to educate myself. If anyone has any reading material to suggest, please do...