Bookseller of Kabul
2009-03-05 07:47:20 GMT
LITERARY BITTERNESS LINGERS FOR AFGHAN'BOOKSELLER' AUTHOR, SUBJECT STILL AT ODDS March 1, 2009
Edition: Valley Final
Los Angeles Time
There's one bookstore where you'll never, ever find a copy of "The Bookseller of Kabul." That would be the Bookseller's.
The epic literary feud that erupted with the book's publication more than five years ago still endures -- at least from the perspective of Shah Muhammad Rais, who hated his depiction as Sultan Khan, a liberal intellectual in public but a tyrant in his own home.
The author is Asne Seierstad, a Norwegian journalist who had come to Afghanistan in late 2001 to cover the fall of the Taliban government. On arriving in the capital, she encountered Rais, the erudite, English-speaking proprietor of the battered city's best bookshop, which then had a branch in a half-ruined hotel where many journalists stayed.