Earth and Ashes

Earth and Ashes

Book - 2002
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Houghton
When the Soviet army arrives in Afghanistan, the elderly Dastaguir witnesses the destruction of his village and the death of his clan. His young grandson Yassin, deaf from the sounds of the bombing, is one of the few survivors. The two set out through an unforgiving landscape, searching for the coal mine where Murad, the old man's son and the boy's father, works. They reach their destination only to learn that they must wait and rely for help on all that remains to them: a box of chewing tobacco, some unripe apples, and the kindness of strangers.
Haunting in its spareness, Earth and Ashes is a tale of devastating loss, but also of human perseverance in the face of madness and war.


Baker & Taylor
A haunting short novel set during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan follows Dastaguir, an elderly man who witnesses the destruction of his village and the deaths of his family, who sets out through the devastated landscape, accompanied by his young grandson Yassin, left deaf from the bombing, to search for the coal mine where the boy's father works. A first novel. 20,000 first printing.

Harcourt Publishing
When the Soviet army arrives in Afghanistan, the elderly Dastaguir witnesses the destruction of his village and the death of his clan. His young grandson Yassin, deaf from the sounds of the bombing, is one of the few survivors. The two set out through an unforgiving landscape, searching for the coal mine where Murad, the old man's son and the boy's father, works. They reach their destination only to learn that they must wait and rely for help on all that remains to them: a box of chewing tobacco, some unripe apples, and the kindness of strangers.
Haunting in its spareness, Earth and Ashes is a tale of devastating loss, but also of human perseverance in the face of madness and war.


Blackwell North Amer
When the Soviet Army arrives in Afghanistan, the elderly Dastaguir witnesses the destruction of his village and the death of his clan. His young grandson Yassin, deaf from the sounds of the bombing, is one of the few survivors. The two set out through an unforgiving landscape, searching for the coal mine where Murad, the old man's son and the boy's father, works. They reach their destination only to learn that they must wait and rely for help on all that remains to them: a box of chewing tobacco, some unripe apples, and the kindness of strangers.

Baker
& Taylor

A short novel set during the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan follows Dastaguir, an elderly man who witnesses the destruction of his village and the deaths of his family.

Publisher: New York : Harcourt, Inc., c2002
Edition: 1st U.S. ed
ISBN: 9780151006984
0151006989
Characteristics: 81 p. ; 19 cm

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anstinek
Dec 30, 2016

A very short, but very enjoyable read. (I started it at bedtime last night, and finished it during lunch today.) An Afghani village is destroyed by the Soviet army in retaliation for the (apparent) assassination of some of their troops. Dastaguir and his grandson, Yassin, are the only survivors of his clan; they set out to find Yassin's father (Dastaguir's son), to tell him of the tragedy.
Yassin has lost his hearing from the bombing; the way in which Rahimi describes how Yassin views this is especially well-written. ("The bomb was huge. It brought silence. The tanks took away people's voices and left." Then, "What do they do with all the voices? Why did you let them take away your voice? If you hadn't would they have killed you? Grandmother didn't give them her voice and she's dead." And "Grandfather, do I have a voice? [...] So why am I alive?"
The story is told in the second person, so instead of hearing how some man named Dastaguir is dealing with events, the reader is placed into the situation himself - "you" see this, "you" hear that, "you" tell people the story of your village being destroyed, and it makes the devastation so much more personal; your grandson is deaf, and you're coming to tell his father (your son) that his wife and mother and entire family are dead. So much of what we hear about what's going on in the Middle East is impersonal, statistics about how many died, what town was taken, what new strategies our troops are using to win over the locals. Even though this book was written (in 2000) about the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan, it personalizes the events that happened then, and what's happening now.

d
dirtbag1
Dec 28, 2011

A short book that is important in that it speaks for those that be cannot speak for themselves. The brutalization of civilians combined with the non-accountability of foreign militaries as well as violent internal forces compels the world to remember times like these. The author holds the door open just a sliver so we may be able to see the tragic past of the Afghanis.

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