Reader reviews and comments on The Bookseller of Kabul, plus links to write your own review.

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The Bookseller of Kabul

By Asne Seierstad

The Bookseller of Kabul
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  • Hardcover: Oct 2003,
    320 pages.
    Paperback: Oct 2004,
    320 pages.

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There are currently 12 reader reviews for The Bookseller of Kabul
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Cynthia Martinez (07/16/10)

Insightful
I enjoyed reading this book very much and wished I was there in the flat with the women to share their experiences. The book was well written, very descriptive and touching.
kay (10/25/09)

The Bookseller of Kabul
Norwegian journalist Asne Seierstad has written a compelling disclosure of life in a "middle class" Afghani family. Considering the extreme strictures of that country, it is quite amazing that she was accepted into the "Kahn" home - and in this capacity allowed enough freedom to do her research. The book certainly is valuable to the reader because of its timeliness and illumination of a suppressed society we are fortunate not to have born into.
Janas Khan (06/09/09)

Injustice done with family members of Sultan Khan
I personally met some of the family members of Sultan Khan, "The book seller of Kabul" and they swore that most of the content of this regarding sisters of Sultan Khan were not true. They claimed that this book gave them a bad name to them in their area of origin and they were compelled to leave and take refuge in Pakistan. They also claimed that they did not have any legal document for their stay in Pakistan and they could not go back to their area of origin because of the fear of the people locally who accused them of transgressing social mores. They maintained that when this book published in Persian, it made their life miserable and there was a rift in their family and lastly they were compelled to leave the area.
T (12/16/08)

Review by a High School Student
I am a person that usually enjoys reading and learning about other cultures. But this is the single worst book I have ever read. This book does not have a plot. It is a collection of irrelevant short stories that are only vaguely linked. It is a very biased presentation of the life of Afghanis. I would highly discourage any person from reading this book. The author presents it as a factual representation of the Khan family. The actual man, Shah Muhammad Rais, as filed a law suit against the Norwegian author because the book was extremely inaccurate in its portrayal of Afghan life. My opinion is that this is the absolute worst book I ever read.
Adilene Martinez (06/01/08)

A Must Read And I Will Tel You Why . . .
I've just completed reading The Bookseller of Kabul about a few minutes ago. This book has not a single climax, it has various. It has as well various antagonists and protagonists. It is like a lot of little stories gathered together in a book. Of course, all have a similar connection to each other. In basic words, this book is a work of art. At first I thought the author might be Afghan, but I doubted it since the name "Asne Seierstad" does not sound Persian or Islamic. What led me to think the author might be Afghan is the vivid imagery and knowledge this person had about Afghan life. I said to myself, "Either this author is Afghan, or a genius." It turned out to be a genius.

sne Seierstad used magical creativity to describe the accuracy of the feelings of an Afghan family. I ignored the prologue of the book because I wanted to jump into the story. It was not after finishing the book that I took interest in reading it. In the prologue Seierstad writes, "Readers have asked me, 'How do you know what goes inside the heads of the various family members?'. I am not of course, an omniscient author. Internal dialogue and feelings are based entirely on what family member’s described to me." When reading the book you might encounter many feelings rushing through your body: some beat in your heart, some reside heavily in your lungs, and some run down you spine. Also, when reading this book you catch symbolism of the characters, especially within the women. Bibi Gul represents what Afghanistan was.

Sonya and Bulbula represent what Afghanistan is. Sharifa, Leila and Shakila represent what Afghanistan wants to be. Sultan represents the factor reason Afghanistan cannot progress. I hated reading while in junior high and some years of high school. It is thanks to authors like this who have pulled me out of that hole. Magnificent fifty-trillion times cubed!
Guendalina (03/15/07)

just Asne
This isn't simply a book it's poetry. Asne Seierstad is an excellent writer. She cares about people and you can feel it from the first to the last page. She gives every single (not for me) detail of people , so actually you can almost see the person that she is talking about. I just loved this book. Asne is a special journalist. I'm reading 101 Days in Baghdad: wonderful book. She tell all about of trying to be a journalist in Baghdad before, during and after the war. Can't miss it.
joe melarkey (11/19/06)

old world
An addictive read.Plays out like a novel ........... but very informative. Captures the "normality" of everyday life in a subtle way.I became engrossed in their way of life yet detached because of the gravity of their existence.Found the author egoless".."selfless"......"journalistic"..and compassionate, all in all a topical informative yet disturbing read.
J. Daly (01/03/06)

The Bookseller of Kabul
I was really looking forward to reading The Bookseller of Kabul having heard the author interviewed on Irish radio. But I was terribly disappointed. I found the book to be very unbalanced and wondered if she liked any of the people whom she admitted were extremely hospitable to her. She seems to have some regard for Leila alone. Of course there are things in Afghanistan that many westerners find unacceptable but I do not believe that the people are so unlikeabe and nasty to each other as she portrays them. They seem not to have any redeeming qualities at all according to Asne Seierstad, apart from their hospitality. No matter what the problems in a society, people have good and bad qualities. Perhaps the Khan family's greatest fault was in trusting this writer to be fair and balanced. Contrast this to The Kite Runner also set largely in Afghanistan and The Blond in the Bazaar -which although less well written from a literary point of view, is a much more balanced view of another Moslem society - this time Pakistan.
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