Thursday, March 26, 2009

Book Review: The Places In Between (Rory Stewart: Harcourt, 2006)

The title of this post is a misnomer, because I have no intention of "reviewing" this book in any meaningful way. If you want to read a review, check out this one. It is very good, and so is the book.

No, the purpose of this post is to share my two favorite lines from the book, which I just finished today. The author - who walked across Afghanistan, alone, in 2002 just after the American-led invasion - gives an incredibly raw and unadorned portrayal of that "fascinating, unfortunate country." These two lines capture it perfectly:
"Qasim left the room without speaking. I smiled at the man with the red lips but he just continued to stare. I took out my notebook and sketched Abdul Haq, who was sleeping on his back with his rifle across his thighs, his large chest slowly rising and falling. He had a clear, honest face. I found my fondness for him difficult to reconcile with what I knew of his enthusiasm for killing people and making small children cry," p. 79.
"The next day I went to watch the Buzkashi game taking place on a series of fields - some fallow, some plowed and planted - just to the east of the empty Buddha niches. Buzkashi a form of polo played with a dead goat instead of a ball," p. 262
Damn. Road trip, anyone?


The Notorious LJT said...


ChuckJerry said...

There is a "reading" tag.