Libmonster ID: UK-1243

A. S. GERASIMOVA

Candidate of Philological Sciences

KeywordsAfghan novelexpatriate Afghan writers

In 2008, a new significant work appeared, created by the Afghan Atik Rahimi in French and received the highest literary award in France - the Goncourt Prize.

The author was born and studied in Kabul, at the French lyceum "Istiklal". After the entry of Soviet troops into Afghanistan, he emigrated to Pakistan; there, at the French consulate in 1985, he received an entry visa to France, where he lives and works to this day, having dual citizenship. Atik Rahimi is a well-known professional writer, screenwriter and film director. At first, he wrote in his native language, Farsi, translated into French himself, and published his works in Paris. Prior to receiving the award, Atik Rahimi published: "Terre et cendres"1 ("Earth and Ashes"), "Les mille maisons du reve et de la terreur"2 ("A Thousand houses of dreams and horror"),"Le Retour imaginaire"3 ("Imaginary return"). The author turned the novel "Earth and Ashes" into a script, directed and directed a film based on it, which won a special prize at the Cannes Film Festival. According to A. Rahimi, this work was his protest against the world community, which does not pay attention to the suffering of the peoples of Afghanistan.

The novel, awarded the Goncourt Prize, is called " Syngue sabour. Pierre de patience " 4 ("The Stone of Patience"). On the last page of the cover, the author explains the title of the novel: "Syngue sabour (in Persian, syngue means "stone" and sabour means "patience"). In Persian mythology, we are talking about a magic stone, which is "placed in front of you to pour out your misfortunes, sufferings, sorrows, and disappointments on it... They trust Him with everything they don't dare reveal to other people... And the stone listens, absorbs like a sponge, all these words, all the secrets until one day it explodes. This is the day of liberation."

It should be noted that exactly under the same name " Sange sabur "("Stone of Patience") (lit. In 1967, a novel by Sadeq Chubak (1916 - 1998), a very famous contemporary Iranian writer, was published in Tehran. In 1981, it was translated into Russian and published in Moscow. The preface to this edition says that the title of the novel "goes back to the image of a famous Persian fairy tale, which tells about a man who is tormented by grief and who tells about it to a patient stone.... If the hero says "Patient stone, patient stone, you are patient and I am patient, either you will crack or I will crack," then either the hero dies or the stone splits, and the redemptive drop of blood that appears from it helps the hero achieve what he wants. " 5


Ending. For the beginning, see: Asia and Africa today. 2011, N 9.

page 63

A. Rahimi's stone of patience is a wounded man in a coma, to whom a young woman, his wife, reveals her soul. "I'm sure you can hear and understand me. That's what you're alive for: me and my secrets... You will be such a magic stone to me. " 6

Perhaps that is why A. Rahimi chose the words of the famous French writer Antonin Artaud (1896-1948)as the epigraph to his novel:

  
  
  
 "Out of the body, through the body, with the body, 
 Starting with the body and ending with the body." 
  
  
 



A. Artaud is a vivid representative of the counterculture, who was acutely aware of the ineffability of the dark life of the "body"in literature.

The languor of the young female body and the sexual life of the heroine occupy a large place in her confession. "Yes, the body is our revelation "(p. 148) - this is her credo. And the emotionless, unconscious, wordless body of a man is quite suitable for the function of the "stone of patience".

S. Chubak does not have such a specific object, which is addressed to the utterances-monologues of characters. It is the whole atmosphere of the life of the characters of the novel, the people of the bottom. The ending of both works is the same - their characters are dying, they are doomed. Although A. Rahimi's" stone of patience "seems to "explode", the man comes out of a coma, gets up and kills his wife, she manages to plunge a dagger into her husband's heart with the last effort of her will. Despite the fact that the" stone of patience " explodes, the redemptive drop of blood (as the legend suggests) does not appear, and the heroes are killed. The Rahimi woman, while gradually freeing herself from the oppressive institutions of religion and traditional morality as she confesses, finds final liberation only in death.

The works of A. Rahimi and S. Chubak are brought together by the same title and the tragic end of the characters ' destinies. It seems that the influence of the aesthetics of existentialism can also be attributed to the general features. In S. Chubak's novel, it significantly affects the kinkiness of the plot, the painful consciousness of the characters that is open, shaken by being, and the chaotic perception of life by them. In Rahimi's book, this influence can only be seen in the idea of loneliness, the separation of people. The heroine is infinitely lonely, sitting by the unconscious body of her wounded husband, and no one comes to her aid, no one shares her grief. Even when she has to go to the pharmacy to get medicine for her husband, no one replaces her, and the sick man is left alone in the room.

The architectonics of novels are quite different: S. Chubak's novels are a series of detailed internal monologues of the main characters. A. Rahimi has one detailed internal monologue, a stream of consciousness, occasionally interrupted by real events "on line". The artistic fabric of narratives and the author's writing style are also different.

The novels of S. Chubak and A. Rahimi are separated by more than forty years. During this time, many different literary and philosophical trends and trends took place in world literature; it is not surprising that each of the authors, being a product of their time, chose the closest artistic form for their works.

A. Rahimi, in addition to the quoted epigraph, provided his novel with a dedication: "This narrative is written in memory of N. A. ( N. A.- an Afghan poetess brutally murdered by her own husbanddedicated to M. D. (M. D.)" The mention of the real fact of the murder sets a tragic tone for the further story.

The composition of the novel is quite complex. A woman does not present events in chronological order. Her confession is constantly interrupted by the realities of today: sometimes the children will cry behind the wall, sometimes the mullah will come, sometimes the house shakes from a bomb explosion, sometimes she blames the Almighty, sometimes she herself creates a prayer. One day, in her absence, looters come and take what little value there is in the room - her husband's watch and the Koran.

From the very first sentences, Atik Rahimi places the reader in a small space where the action takes place, and with a lot of precise artistic details creates an atmosphere of trouble, illness and unusual situation. There are also portraits of the main characters.

"It's a small room. Rectangle. She's pushing. Although the walls are light, bluish-green, and on both curtains are embroidered migratory birds, and frozen with open wings in the yellow and blue sky. The curtains are full of holes, and the sun's rays come in through them, fading into the faded patterns of the oriental woven carpet. There's another curtain at the back of the room. Green. There's nothing embroidered on it. She covers the boarded-up door. Or maybe a closet.

The room is empty. There is no furniture. Only a small scimitar hangs in the wall separating the two windows, and above it is a photograph of a man with a mustache. He must be in his thirties. Curly hair. The face is square, compressed on both sides by neatly trimmed sideburns. Black eyes glisten. They are small, and the nose between them looks like an eagle's beak. The man doesn't laugh, but he looks like he's holding it back. Because of this, he has a strange expression on his face, as if in his heart he is mocking whoever is looking at him...

Opposite this picture, close to the wall, the same man, only older, is lying on a red mattress placed directly on the floor. He has a beard. Pepper and salt colors. He was thin. Too much. Skin and bones. Pale. Just wrinkles. The nose is even more like an eagle's beak. He still doesn't laugh. His face was still wearing the same strange, mocking expression. His mouth is half open. His eyes, which had become even smaller, were completely sunken in. My eyes are fixed on the ceiling, where the rotten beams are exposed and black. Hands, motionless, lie at the side of the body. Through the thinning skin, you can see how his veins are wheezing like worms-

page 64

my hair is wrapped around the protruding bones. He wears a mechanical watch on his left wrist and a gold wedding ring on his third finger. A catheter is inserted into the hollow in the crook of the right arm, through which a colorless liquid is poured into the body, coming from a plastic mug directly above the head. Everything else is covered by a long white shirt with an embroidered collar and sleeves. A dirty white sheet is draped over his feet, which are as ugly as two wooden stumps" (pp. 13-15).

Apparently, the cinematic artistic thinking of A. Rahimi determined this particular style of writing. Its text is similar to a director's screenplay with a ready-made storyboard. It's like a camera takes a close-up of a wounded man's face, capturing all its parts in detail and comparing them with the photo on the wall, then comes down, showing his arms, body, and legs. It turns out a bright visible picture. The cinematic technique is successfully transferred to another field of art - literature and increases the impact on the reader.

I resorted to such a long quote out of a desire to show the peculiarities of the writer's style, his author's punctuation, and his passion for details and details. In addition, the objects in the room where the patient is lying will be significant and necessary at the end of the novel.

In addition to the patient, in the same limited space there is a woman who observes and cares for the patient. The author's pen also dwells in detail on the appearance of the heroine, her clothes, movements. "The woman is beautiful. There is a small scar in the corner of her left eye, which narrows the slash of her eyes slightly and gives her a strange, disturbing look. The lips, sensuous, dry and pale, grudgingly murmur the same prayer "(p. 13).

The heroine has long black hair. One hand rests on the man's chest, and in the other she holds a rosary, on which every breath of the patient is counted. From now on, her entire life is subject to the rhythm of his breathing; it also measures time: "... my day is equal to ninety-nine switching beads on the rosary... I can tell you that I have five more beads to throw before the Mullah begins his call for the midday prayer and recites the hadiths "(p. 18).

Her own breathing adjusted to his rhythm. This torment has been going on for 16 days. She waits for any sign from the man, hopes that he at least hears her. But in vain: no movement, no sign, no sound. In desperation, she screams: "I can't do this anymore! Allah, help me!"

As a woman talks about her life, her fears, secrets and secrets, she seems to relive all these events, and gradually frees herself from the yoke of marriage, from religious dogmas, obsolete traditions and superstitions. The burden of worries, troubles, and passions that she has experienced is gradually lifted from her shoulders. As a child, she suffered from her father's despotism. When she grew up, she was married in absentia to a war hero. Only his photo was present at the wedding: "... imagine, almost a year to go as a bride and three years to be the married wife of a man who is never there, it's not so easy! I lived with your name. I've never even seen you, heard you, or touched you before. I was afraid, afraid of everything, of you, the bed, the blood. But this fear is what I loved" (p. 39). Indeed, this false position is an ordeal for a young woman. Of their ten years of marriage, they lived together for only three years. During his time at the front, she had to experience a lot: the tyranny of her mother-in-law, who hated her daughter-in-law because of her "infertility"*, loneliness, defenselessness, betrayal, harassment of her husband's brothers, and much more. "You were at the front. You fought in the name of freedom, in the name of Allah. It justified everything. It gave me hope and pride " (p. 64).

The woman, with all her sufferings and troubles, waited and hoped for the return of her husband. However, fate has prepared her for the last test. She was left alone with her half-dead husband. All neighbors and relatives left this quarter of Kabul as the most dangerous when shelled.

This fact alone testifies to the remarkable courage and dedication of the heroine. She takes care of the wounded man, changes the ivs, wipes him, listens to his breathing, constantly repeats the words of prayer. And it seems to her that her helpless husband is in a better position than she is: "So it doesn't even hurt you?! You never get hurt!.. I've never heard of anyone living with a bullet in the back of their head! You don't even have any blood... You can't even get hurt!.. But I must suffer! I have to cry!" (p. 31).

Despite the woman's hard work and suffering, she is condemned by the mullah. He believes that the warrior does not come back to life because the heroine does not take good care of him. She is tossing and turning: sometimes she grumbles at the Almighty, sometimes she asks God for forgiveness. However, she continues her sincere confession, revealing all her secrets, including the secret of the birth of children, saying that her husband is not their father. It turned out that the man was infertile, not the heroine.

Apparently, this confession had such a strong effect on the almost lifeless husband that he got up. The story is coming to a head. "Oh... about a miracle! O Resurrection! "What is it?" she babbles, her voice hoarse with horror. "I knew my secrets would bring you back to life, to me. I knew it... Her husband pulls her to him, grabs her by the hair, and slams her head against the wall... "My patience stone has been broken! "... " I will finally get rid of my torment!".

He... He grabs his wife roughly again, picks her up, and throws her against the wall where the photo and photo are hanging.


* In the Afghan mentality, a barren woman is vicious, considered a disgrace to the family; in this case, the man usually takes a second wife.

page 65

the scimitar. He walks over, grabs her by the hair, and lifts her up... Her head touches the hanging scimitar. With her hand, she removes it from the wall. He lets out a scream. And stabs her husband in the heart. No blood spurts out, not a drop.

He... snaps her neck in a skillful, quick motion.

The woman exhales.

The man inhales.

The woman closes her eyes.

The man stands with a wandering gaze.

Someone knocks on the door.

A man with a heart pierced by a scimitar goes and lies down on a mattress placed along the wall, opposite his photo.

The woman is scarlet. Red with her own blood.

Someone enters the house.

Again, the woman slowly opens her eyes.

A light breeze passes over her body, which makes migrating birds flap their wings; it seems that they are about to take off " (pp. 148-149).

This is the end of a sorrowful story about the fate of a young Afghan woman, a victim of religious institutions, wild customs and prejudices, and mainly of the long - term civil war in Afghanistan.

Highly acclaimed by the French literary community, Atiq Rahimi's novel is a new conquest of Afghan literature. "The Stone of Patience" is the author's first work written in French. According to the writer, it was very difficult for him to write in French, he slept in an embrace with the Rober dictionary. "It's not easy to write in a foreign language," the writer admits. "To translate a single phrase is to translate a whole culture, because one word contains a certain mystery." 7

But the effort was worth it - the Goncourt Prize and a wide Francophone readership became his reward. A. Rahimi's novel is characterized by deep psychologism. The author managed to get into the most secret corners of the soul of a suffering Afghan woman and very subtly and skillfully tell the reader about them. The author justifiably details the description of the space in which the action takes place. The dagger hanging on the wall, the photo, as well as the curtains on the windows, which are highlighted in the first pages, turn out to be necessary and significant objects at the end of the novel. However, the writer can not be blamed for everyday writing, materialism, excessive detail. There is nothing superfluous in the novel, rather, it is concise, rather than sinning with redundancy of information. In this short work (150 pages) such depth, so everything is focused on revealing the main thing, that every word, every artistic detail exactly plays the role intended for them. "The Stone of Patience" is quite a modern psychological novel. Despite the fact that it is written in French, only an Afghan who knows the way of life of the Afghan family, its customs and traditions, as well as the realities of the modern reality of his country could create such a work. It is hardly possible not to include the work of A. Rahimi in the corpus of national literature of Afghanistan.

A novel in Russian has also been added to the modern literature of Afghanistan. It's about Haidar Shah's novel "Silk Road".8. I have already interpreted this work on the pages of our periodicals 9. Let me just remind you that the author is not a professional writer. He received a higher legal education in Moscow. For many years after emigrating to Russia, he supported himself with odd jobs. Currently, he works for Radio of Russia. In 2010, a collection of his short stories, Hob Dar Bidari, was published in Moscow.A daydream") in your native Dari language.

His novel tells about the events of the reign of Shah Mahmud of Ghaznevi (970-1030), although it does not claim to be truly historical. It is eclectic in form, includes elements of mysticism, philosophical reasoning, and echoes of ancient legends. This work is entirely within the framework of the national traditional Afghan literature, which still often suffers from didacticism. In artistic terms, "Silk Road" is inferior to the works of X. Hosseini and A. Rahimi. It could not have received such a powerful public response as the novels of the above-mentioned authors. Its circulation is only 500 copies. Nevertheless, the appearance of such a novel in Russian should be welcomed. Haidar Shah's goal was to show that his people have a rich and glorious history and culture, and thus change the image of the Afghan created by the media as a terrorist and drug trafficker. It seems that the author has achieved his goal.

Now we can rightly state that the literature of Afghanistan is at the turn of the century and in the first decade of the XXI century. it has made a breakthrough in its development, forming in a short time a large narrative form-the novel-that allows us to fully and vividly reflect the national existence in all its diversity of manifestations. The appearance of novels in foreign languages significantly expanded the readership of this literature, introducing many peoples to the national life and culture of the peoples of Afghanistan.


Rahimi A. 1 Terre et cendres. Paris, P.O.L., 2000.

Rahimi A. 2 Les mille maisons du reve et de la terreur. Paris, P.O.L., 2002.

Rahimi A. 3 Le Retour imaginaire. Paris, P.O.L., 2005.

Rahimi A. 4 Syngue sabour. Pierre de patience. Paris, P.O.L., 2008.

Chewbacca Sadeq. 5 The Stone of Patience, Moscow, Nauka Publ., 1981, p. 5.

Rahimi Atik. 6 Shingae Sabur. The stone of patience. (Translated from French and afterword by D. Savosin). Moscow, Text Publ., 2010, p. 86.

7 Akhbar al-Adab, 16.11.2008.

Haidar Shah Khayal. 8 The Silk Road, Moscow, 2007.

9 See: Gerasimova A. The first Afghan Novel in Russian / / Asia and Africa Today, 2009, N 11.

Haidar Shah Khayal. 10 Хоб дар бидари. М., 2010.


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