Earth and Ashes
shows a new face of Atiq Rahimi than The Patience Stone
. It is subtle, sewn with beautiful images: an apple falling on the ground, a cloud of dust, a tear welling in an eye.
An old man and his grandson are all that is left of a large extended family after the Soviets burn down their village. They make a days trek to the mine where the boy's father works to inform him that his mother, brother, and pregnant wife have all perished in the bombing. The little boy, Yasmin, has been struck deaf, but doesn't realize it yet.
Reviewers were right to compare this to Antigone
, and the same themes are here: what we owe to the dead, how to avenge, how to mourn.
This, and The Patience Stone
are both highly recommended. I will be reading The Thousand Rooms of Dreams and Fear