Filed under: book reviews, fiction | Tags: kabul, middle east, swallows of kabul, taliban, yasmina khadra
The Swallows of Kabul is an interesting story of the entanglement of the lives of two couples in Kabul. The first three-fourths of the book follows the two husbands closely as they coincidentally run into each other but never meet (somewhat like Ulysses). Kabul is impoverished and the story takes place during Taliban rule and after the war with the Russians. The characters struggle with life under Taliban run Kabul, and the question of existence develops into a poignant theme. The last fourth of the book moves to target the wives more and here the story became very predictable and I quickly began to lose interest. Khadra does have a rather peculiar writing style (or perhaps a result of the translation) where I found myself often feeling I was reading a play rather than a novel.
This is really a book I don’t remember anything about, which is one of those crazy growing up things because I always swore I would never forget what I had read. (Or perhaps Swallows of Kabul simply didn’t give me that much of a lasting impression?) I believe I read this last summer during the Middle Eastern book craze that was sweeping the bookstore. It wasn’t a bad read. I remember that it was short with a nice cover.