Book Discussion October 28 6:30 PM
Seiestad is a female journalist from Norway who moved in with the Khan family in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban in 2001. Disguised as she was behind the bulky, shapeless burka and escorted always by a man and even in Western dress, she was somehow anonymous and accepted readily into the bookseller’s large extended family. Her account is of the tragedy, contradictions, rivalries, and daily frustrations of a middle-class Afghan family. There is much irony here–Sultan, who has risked his life to protect and disseminate books with diverse points of view, denies his sons the right to pursue an education and subjects his female relatives to drudgery and humiliation.
Since publication many of the book’s descriptions have been contested by Rais, who has taken the author to court in Norway for what he says is a defamation and assault on his character, family and country. In July of 2010 Seierstad was found guilty of defamation and “negligent journalistic practices and ordered to pay damages to Suraia Rais, wife of Shah Muhammad Rais. An appeal is underway.
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