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Extended Audio Sample The Patience Stone, by Atiq Rahimi Click for printable size audiobook cover
3.00269905533063 out of 53.00269905533063 out of 53.00269905533063 out of 53.00269905533063 out of 53.00269905533063 out of 5 3.00 (741 ratings) (rate this audio book) Author: Atiq Rahimi Narrator: Carolyn Seymour Publisher: Blackstone Audio Format: Unabridged Audiobook Delivery: Instant Download Audio Length: Release Date:
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In Persian folklore, Syngue Sabour is the name of a magical black stone, a patience stone, that absorbs the plight of those who confide in it. It is believed that the day it explodes, after having received too much hardship and pain, will be the day of the Apocalypse. But here, the Syngue Sabour is not a stone but rather a man lying brain-dead with a bullet lodged in his neck. His wife is with him, sitting by his side. But she resents him for having sacrificed her to the war, for never being able to resist the call to arms, for wanting to be a hero, and in the end, after all was said and done, for being incapacitated in a small skirmish. Yet she cares, and she speaks to him. In fact, she begins to speak to him more and more, opening up her deepest desires, pains, and secrets. While in the streets rival factions clash and soldiers are looting and killing around her, she speaks of her life, never knowing if her husband really hears. And it is an extraordinary confession, without restraint, about sex and love and her anger against a man who never understood her, who mistreated her, who never showed her any respect or kindness. Her admission releases the weight of oppression of marital, social, and religious norms, and she leads her story up to the great secret that is unthinkable in a country such as Afghanistan.

Winner of the Prix Goncourt, The Patience Stone captures with great courage and spare, poetic, prose the reality of everyday life for an intelligent woman under the oppressive weight of the Taliban regime in Afghanistan.

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Quotes & Awards

  • “This story from an Afghan-born author is a powerful one, giving voice to the historically downtrodden Afghan woman…truly an expansive work of literature.”

    New York Post

  • “With a veiled face and stolen words, a woman keeps silent about her forbidden pain in an Afghanistan marred by men’s foolishness. But when she rediscovers her voice, she overcomes the chaos. Atiq Rahimi tells the story of this woman’s heartbreaking lamentation to awaken our consciences.”

    Yasmina Khadra, author of The Swallows of Kabul

  • “[A] clever novel…readers get a glimpse of daily life in a country terrorized by conflict and religious fundamentalism. Rahimi paints this picture with nuance and subtlety…[His] sparse prose complements his simple yet powerful storytelling prowess. This unique story is both enthralling and disturbing.”

    San Francisco Chronicle

  • The Patience Stone is perfectly written: spare, close to the bone, sometimes bloody, with a constant echo, like a single mistake that repeats itself over and over and over.”

    Los Angeles Times

  • “Artfully represents the everyday realities of life for women living under the Taliban regime in present-day Afghanistan…This 2008 Prix Goncourt–winning tale, which includes an introduction by Khaled Hosseini (The Kite Runner), is poetic and powerful. Expressing the full range of human emotion in her heart-wrenching performance, narrator Carolyn Seymour (An Education) literally gives voice to a woman representing a nation of women. Strongly recommended especially for those with an interest in literary fiction and women’s studies.”

    Library Journal (starred audio review)

  • “Rahimi’s lyric prose is simple and poetic, and McLean’s translation is superb. With an introduction by Khaled Hosseini, this Prix Goncourt–winning book should have a profound impact on the literature of Afghanistan for its brave portrayal of, among other things, an Afghan woman as a sexual being.”

    Library Journal

  • “In his brilliantly written novel, Afghan author Atiq Rahimi holds the reader transfixed with a gripping account of the appalling conditions in his country, wracked by war, atrocity and under-development…[He] captivates the reader with his crystal-clear prose. Every word counts in short sentences redolent with symbolism and in a plot whose tight arc holds the reader spellbound from beginning to end. The frugal and incisive language is just as significant here as the distanced viewpoint of the narrator, who follows the events from outside at a consistent distance.”

    The American Muslim

  • “Only pick-up this book if you have time to read it in one sitting, because once you start reading you won’t be able to put it down until you have read the last sentence. This is a remarkable story that captures your attention from beginning to end. There is never a dull moment.”

    Library Thing member review

  • “Winner of Le Prix Goncourt 2008, considered France’s highest literary honor, this disturbingly powerful slim volume gives voice to the too-many silenced women living ‘somewhere in Afghanistan or elsewhere.’ Written almost like a dramatic play script complete with what read like stage directions—not surprising since Atiq Rahimi also happens to be an award-winning filmmaker—The Patience Stone would surely make for a powerful production. For now, you’ll have to settle for the haunting 142 pages, but mark my words…it’s coming to a stage or screen near you.”


  • The Patience Stone is a short but emotionally intense tale…The voice of the woman is almost painful to read. Atiq Rahimi does an excellent job at maintaining her voice throughout the short but powerful tale. As a woman, I found her plight both chilling and disturbing. The terseness of the tales only serves to heighten those feelings. The Patience Stone is a book that should be read by everyone, if only to ensure that the voiceless women of Afghanistan are finally heard.”

    Book Illuminations

  • “A slender, devastating exploration of one woman’s tormented inner life, which won the 2008 Prix Goncourt…The novel, asserts [Khaled] Hosseini in his glowing introduction, finally gives a complex, nuanced, and savage voice to the grievances of millions.”

    Words without Borders

  • A Library Journal Best Audiobook of 2010

Listener Opinions

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by aPriL MEOWS often with scratching | 1/30/2014

    " The extremely wretched existence of being an Afghanistan woman along with a story exposing the sick and rotten life that Afghan men have created for everyone in that damned country is revealed by this surprising high art novella. All of the action occurs in a single room so this could easily be turned into a play. It is a frank, honest monologue which reveals a country that hides it's barnyard mentality and psychopathic cruelty behind twisted interpretations of an already illogical collection of religious instructions. As peculiar as the Torah, the Bible and the Koran can read to those who bother to study them, what the Afghans have done with transforming an eighth century book of third-hand, poorly translated stories of Babylonian folk tales and strange body function rituals that HAD to be created by someone with autism or obsessive-compulsive disorder is criminal. It is amazing such a sick and maimed society is often discussed as if in the interests of fairness we must pretend it is sane and legitimate, with normal governing principles grounding the daily lives of all the followers of extreme Islam. For God's sake, the average life expectancy there is around 40, women are basically treated like they are breeding dogs, children as disposable slaves and men are cowering mouth breathers. Perhaps in two decades Afghans will have returned to living in caves trying go remember how to make a fire. No one wants to say out loud how insane this country is. Everyone knows it, the same way we all knew how sick Cambodia, North Korea, Nazi Germany, Stalin's Russia, Idi Amin' s Uganda, and the current Somalia, is. It is similar to being respectful of a rabies infected bat attacking you. If only people would discuss more often and openly how much opium has infiltrated all aspects of Afghan society and by promoting the demonizing of women the men have turned to 'boy dancers' which is creating a future generation of sick, damaged men. The worst part is how Pakistan and Iran are cynically and malignantly 'helping' Afghanistan turn their people into Neanderthal primitives to keep their own populations distracted while using Afghans as political catspaws, and India and China quietly steal every valuable mineral resource Afghanistan possesses while screaming that their intervention is stopping the USA from doing so. It's all so disgusting. And hopeless. In my opinion, it has become an out of control forest fire that will burn until all of the land is destroyed. Since no one can help, we should leave them alone to their devolution (with nothing of value left) and keep books like this around as cautionary tales. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Don Weidinger | 1/30/2014

    " min education or healthcare, pride and rush to violence, blood is blood, shot over insult, those who know not love-war, I am revealing words, story of peacock feather, when hard to be woman hard to be man too. "

  • 4 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 54 out of 5 by Deandrea | 1/14/2014

    " This book was disturbing and beautiful at once. The images are horrific and true-feeling and necessary. The prose is poetic. The story is interesting. I flew through it. "

  • 2 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 52 out of 5 by Kristy Ann | 12/4/2013

    " Woman have a difficult life in Afghanistan. The story was interesting, but I had a difficult time connecting with the protagonist. "

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