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Review: Earth and Ashes

September 24, 2010

When Dastaguir’s Afghan village is bombed by the Russians, his wife and daughter in law are killed and his grandson is left deaf.   Dastaguir feels that it’s his duty to travel to share the devastating news with his son who has left the village to work in the mines.  Dastaguir and his grandson set off on foot with what little provisions they have.  Dastaguir finds himself dealing with his grief, his grandson’s confusion, and their lack of supplies.  He struggles to find answers and to come up with a way to break the news to his son, and is surprised by what he finds at the mine.

Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi is an important novella set in Afghanistan during the Russian invasion.  It’s a story of war and what it’s like to survive the devastation inflicted on others.  It’s a story of family and honor.  It’s told in the second person, and I found it a little bit difficult to be fully immersed in the story, which is odd, because I think that’s the whole point of second person perspective – to make the reader feel like they’re a part of the story.  At 67 pages, this is a quick read, but don’t dismiss it because of that – it will make you reflect and ponder on the state of the world.

Review copy provided by Other Press.   I am an Indiebound Affiliate.
25 Comments leave one →
  1. diane permalink
    September 24, 2010 6:38 am

    Hmmmm never heard of this one, but glad to see you recommend it.

  2. September 24, 2010 7:27 am

    I like reading about that time period so I will probably try this one, but I’m sorry to hear it’s not fully immerse-able! (made up word)

  3. September 24, 2010 10:25 am

    Even if it is short, it sounds like a powerful story.

  4. September 24, 2010 12:24 pm

    Having friends out in Afghanistan fighting at the moment, I feel this one might be too close to home. It does sound good though.

  5. September 24, 2010 12:26 pm

    I could go for something short and impactful right about now…

  6. September 24, 2010 1:18 pm

    I can’t recall the last second person perspective book I’ve read. I’m not sure how I would feel about that, but otherwise it sounds interesting.

  7. September 24, 2010 2:28 pm

    Interesting that it is written in 2nd person. I don’t read many books like that. Sounds powerful, though.

  8. September 24, 2010 2:47 pm

    A very quick read indeed but it sounds like you really enjoyed it nonetheless.

  9. September 24, 2010 3:41 pm

    This is a quickie…sounds deep and life changing…

  10. September 24, 2010 4:04 pm

    Short but deep? Great, concise review, Kathy. Happy weekend! 🙂

  11. September 24, 2010 5:06 pm

    This sounds like a captivating story that could easily have been double or more in size & it’s interests me that it’s so brief. It’s a little disappointing that the second person narrative didn’t turn out quite as expected. But I’d still like to read this story though I expect it will be emotional and upsetting in parts but I think it’s an important story of an area that has been ravaged by war and I’m glad Atiq Rahimi wrote this story.

    ~ Amy

  12. September 24, 2010 5:07 pm

    Interesting overview — I always get concerned with shorter works, but I might have to check this one out!

  13. September 24, 2010 5:25 pm

    Sounds like a very interesting book!

  14. September 24, 2010 5:46 pm

    That short and it still makes you think, must be good then, I need a “thinking” book now and again. Must let my brain run free

  15. September 24, 2010 8:49 pm

    Thanks for highlighting this one..sounds interesting.

  16. September 24, 2010 8:55 pm

    Sounds very interesting.

  17. September 24, 2010 10:12 pm

    I’m really intrigued by this book and am looking forward to picking it up at some point!

  18. September 25, 2010 5:58 am

    I know very little about the Russian invasion of Afghanistan, but it sounds like this lovely little read would really help inform me. I am going to have to check this one out!

  19. September 25, 2010 9:03 pm

    I’m adding this to my TBR pile!

  20. September 25, 2010 10:45 pm

    This sounds like a great thoughtful book, but I just don’t like the 2nd person style of writing – it distracts me from the plot. I’ll still look this one up. At 67 pages, it should be fine.

  21. September 26, 2010 7:22 am

    Will note this novella down.

  22. September 26, 2010 5:48 pm

    I like books that make you think and ponder. Thanks for bringing this book to my attention.
    Great review.

  23. September 26, 2010 10:40 pm

    Sometimes a novella is just enough … especially if it’s written well. I think I might like to check this one out.

  24. September 27, 2010 9:22 pm

    This looks like it’s right up my alley!

  25. November 2, 2010 5:03 pm

    How did I miss this review? I’ve just finished reading and posting about this book for the November Novella Challenge. If I’d known how powerful it was I’d have read it sooner. I enjoyed reading your thoughts on it.

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