• The Bookseller of Kabul

  • By: Asne Seierstad
  • Narrated by: Emilia Fox
  • Length: 6 hrs and 54 mins
  • Abridged
  • Release date: 02-10-06
  • Language: English
  • Publisher: Hachette Audio UK
  • 3.5 (14 ratings)

Regular price: $15.01

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Publisher's Summary

For more than 20 years Sultan Khan defied the authorities to supply books to the people of Kabul. He was arrested, interrogated, and imprisoned, and watched illiterate soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. In spring 2002, award-winning journalist Asne Seierstad spent four months living with the bookseller and his family. As she steps back from the page and lets the Khans tell their stories, we learn of proposals and marriages, hope and fear, crime and punishment. The result is a unique portrait of a family and a country.
©2002 Asne Seierstad; (P)2005 Time Warner AudioBooks
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Customer Reviews

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By Anonymous User on 05-12-17

The book seller of Kabul

I enjoyed the insight to a different culture the narrator was excellent more for female readers.

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By Sheila on 04-16-15

Brilliant insight to this Country and it's people

Any additional comments?

I was uncertain whether I really wanted to hear this, but it was on my book club's list so I gave it a go. I couldn't put it down. I felt that I better understood the situation in the country and what had lead to it's problems. Somewhat brutal at times, certainly very sad in places, but always fascinating.

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful


By Anthony on 12-26-14

Insightful, challenging but troubling book

Somewhat tragic story of enlightenment marred by paternalism, parochialism and conservatism.

This is the story of a well known family of booksellers and how they survive and at times thrive in challenging periods of Kabul’s political history – before, during and after the Taliban. Semi-ethnographic insights are generously offered from an outsider-insider story of a bookseller who treasured and protected Afghanistan’s written history, and his family. Despite hardship, poverty, threats, violence and abuse the family protect and treasure important books from the repressive intolerance of the Taliban regime. The bookseller positions himself as neutral; selling whatever people are prepared to buy, often stocking diametrically political perspectives.

The book emerges from a Norwegian journalist who was hospitably accommodated by the bookseller’s family; learning about their past, exploring the perspectives and stories of each of the family members. She promises to tell the story of the family and its important role in protecting the cultural history of Afghanistan. She records the stories of the bookseller and his family, and in so doing brings to light his harsh and abusive side.

The Bookseller of Kabul offers interesting insights into Afghanistan in different periods; into the clash of cultures; the value of books; and intra-family power dynamics and abuse.

The successful publication and sales of this book created its own story: the ethics of receiving and benefiting from the hospitality of a family while producing a work which is deeply critical of the (superficially disguised) host himself and his relationships with family and others.

Insightful but troubling...

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1 of 1 people found this review helpful

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By Vicki Atkinson on 05-17-15

Expect your pre-conceived ideas to be challenged

Makes you realise the Burqua is inhuman and the current regime has no regard for the female population of Afghanistan

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