The Patience Stone by Atiqu Rahimi unfolds in the bedroom of a war torn house in a bombed out neighbourhood of Afghanistan. In this novel, an unnamed Afghani woman tends to her comatose husband, a jihadist who was shot but did not die of his wound. When the novel begins he has been in this state, for 16 days. While the man appears to be in no condition to perceive what is going on around him, almost the entire book is written from what would be his perspective, that is, what he what he would see and hear if he were conscious.
Initially, the woman is following the mullah’s instructions as to how to care for her husband. Days go by, the woman talks to her husband, growing bolder in how she unburdens herself as the novel progresses. He becomes her sang-e saboor, her ‘patience stone’, a magical stone her father-in-law had told her about. The woman reveals a great deal to her husband which she would not ordinarily do.
Deb in our Winkler Branch enjoyed this book very much and says it gives the reader lots to think about. She says that the reader experiences the war as a helpless civilian, much as the women of Afghanistan.