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O livreiro de Cabul

3.76  ·  Rating details ·  43,692 ratings  ·  3,232 reviews
Por ter vivido três meses com uma família afegã, na primavera de 2002, logo após a queda do regime talibã, a jornalista norueguesa Asne Seierstad pôde produzir esta narrativa ímpar que mostra aspectos do país que poucos estrangeiros testemunhariam. Como ocidental, mulher e hóspede de Sultan Khan, um livreiro de Cabul, obteve o privilégio de transitar entre o universo femin ...more
Paperback, 16ª, 320 pages
Published 2006 by Record (first published September 2nd 2002)
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Prithvi Shams
Nov 09, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
After finishing the book, I was quite surprised at the number of negative reviews here in Goodreads. Maybe a huge culture shock is at play here. Many in the West may be put off by the realization that the values that they take for granted may be totally unheard of in certain parts of the world. There *are* certain cultures where children are nothing but tools for parents and as such, are actively denied education. There *are* cultures where falling in love is a greater "crime" than sawing off a ...more
Apr 11, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: No one, it's bad
I was irritated early on by the way this book was written. I think it encompasses all my other grips about the book.

Basically the situation is like this: a woman journalist is in Kabul after 9/11. She meets this bookseller, lives with his family a few months with only 3 people in the family speaking English and then she writes a book about them.

First of all, having lived abroad and lived abroad with families, you can't know a family the way this author pretends to in that time. We don't even kn
Ahmad Sharabiani
Bokhandleren i Kabul = The Bookseller of Kabul, Åsne Seierstad
The Bookseller of Kabul is a non-fiction book written by Norwegian journalist Åsne Seierstad, about a bookseller, Shah Muhammad Rais (whose name was changed to Sultan Khan), and his family in Kabul, Afghanistan, published in Norwegian in 2002 and English in 2003. It takes a novelistic approach, focusing on characters and the daily issues that they face.

تاریخ نخستین خوانش: روز سی ام ماه ژانویه سال 2005 میلادی

عنوان: کتابفروش کابل؛ نویسن
Will Byrnes
Oct 29, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A very interesting, journalistic depiction of life in Afghanistan as told from inside the tent of a relatively well-to-do family, with particular attention to the experiences of females. It is compelling reading, and should be mandatory for anyone who wants to know about life in Afghanistan. It is not a good thing to be a female there.
Enter the world of the Norwegian journalist, Åsne Seierstad, who covers the aftermath of the Taliban on society in Afghanistan, and you get what you could expect, but still hope you're wrong: a 'pseudo-novelistic' attempt at exposing the life of a country in turmoil / vicious power struggles / chaos.

Coming from a liberal Norwegian society, and being a young journalist, it is expected that the book will be written from a pessimistic, typical journalistic point of view. In fact, I struggled to get
Delivering pizzas in Germany is far more lucrative than working as a flight engineer [in Afghanistan] (p58)

Seierstad, a Norwegian journalist, stayed as a guest of the bookseller of Kabul of the title shortly after the fall of the Taliban. (view spoiler)
Oct 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Asne Seirstadt writes an honest and candid account of her four months of life with an Afghan family, following the fall of the Taliban and the end of the reign of terror they subjected the Afghan people to.

She spent these months with the family of Sultan Khan who- for twenty years-defied the tyranny of the Communists and then the Taliban by selling books on the black market because the tyrants did not allow books except those which subscribed to their narrow minded and sick ideas.

Afghanistan was
Aug 10, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I think I learned more from this one book than from any news story or other examination of Afghanistan.
You think, after reading the forward and the beginning of the book, that the bookseller will be a progressive man, but his love for his country's history and its literary heritage is his only redeeming quality and yet the very reason he is such a bastard toward his family. Everything comes second to his passion.
In the wake of the Taliban's withdrawal we see them slowly try to regain their f
Mar 04, 2008 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
my issues with this book are basically ideological/political -- in spite of an introduction justifying her decision to erase herself from the story, the author also says that she spent a significant period of her time in the household arguing with its male members (presumably about gender politics and the subordinate status of the family's women). i think including these disagreements would have made for a far stronger and more compelling story (not to mention more honest) -- as it is, this is j ...more
Mar 17, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: afghanistan
I like Asne Seierstad's books. She is a Norwegian journalist who is no stranger to conflict zones. Infact,she seems to revel in putting herself in dangerous situations.

She actually opted to stay on in Baghdad after the US invasion in 2003,as bombs rained down from the sky.

In this book,she chose to go to Afghanistan soon after the US invasion and stayed on with the family of an Afghan bookseller.

This man had two wives. It is a fascinating account of the trials and tribulations of this family's li
Miramira Endevall
Nov 20, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Valerie
Valerie - I found a used copy of this book for your Christmas present (since I raved about it to you) so don't go buying it! :-)

I wasn't going to write a review of this book at all until I read some of the other reviews posted here and became horrified at their castigation of Ms. Seierstad.

A rebuttal:

I liked this book BECAUSE it doesn't read like investigative journalism. Seirstad never once pretends that she's being unbiased and doesn't apologize for the obvious slant. Frankly, her slant is wha
“She couldn't survey the wreck of the world with an air of casual unconcern.”

----Margaret Mitchell

Åsne Seierstad, an Award winning journalist-turned-Norwegian-author, has penned a delectable and slightly captivating account of her stay with an Afghan family, who owned a bookshop in a terror-stricken and on-the-verge-of-a-civil-war type Kabul in the year 2002, in the book called, The Bookseller of Kabul. This is the personal story of almost every human being, mainly women of the household, from
Reem Ghabbany
Jul 14, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a different kind of book. my very first non-fiction.
I loved the characters. Sultan Khan who's the bookseller is a hard working very strict man who has a heart of stone. the author talks about him and his family's life. which consist of his 2 wives, children, mother, and sisters. they live in a four-room tiny apartment.
I enjoyed reading about their lives even though I was so frustrated with Sultan at times. I felt so sorry for the women of Afghanistan. I was so angry with the amount of
Feb 23, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Two and a half stars... I may round up to 3. An interesting view on life in Afghanistan in the early 2000s. My feeling on finishing the book was one of overwhelming sadness. Life is so hard for some, and reading the book made me feel extremely grateful for the life I have, where I can be independent woman and be in charge of my own choices and destiny. I felt desperately sorry for Leila, and the chapter on the carpenter left me in tears. I wouldn’t say it was an enjoyable read, but it made me th ...more
Aug 06, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cultural
The story starts out with the chapter “The Proposal” in which Sultan Khan, the bookseller, feels that he is ready for a new wife although he already has one. And while Afghan customs permit more than one wife, some of his family are against his decision. The author concentrates on Sultans decision and the effects it has on his family. The reader is taken inside the head of the first wife, Sharifa, and his new young bride. Through their voices, we see a glimpse of the caste system. “A wedding ...more
Mikey B.
This book is not about books or the selling of books – its much more about the inner life of a middle-class family in Afghanistan shortly after the Allied invasion in October of 2001.

The author visited a bookstall in Kabul and after striking up a conversation with the owner asked if she could spend time with his family and this request was accepted. She lived with them for a few months and this book encapsulates her observations of their lifestyle and interactions. It is somewhat similar to an a
Jun 11, 2007 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Okay so the author seems very naive, and that's a pretty safe bet. She is knowledgeable however, so I'll give her that. I wouldn't take this book seriously if you're looking for some real social or historical insight into Afghanistan. It really pales in that sense. If you're looking for a light read and a good story, in that sense, it's good and can offer some inspiration. So it's all right so far.


All right, just finished it. It was interesting and page-turning, but the author's tone really ag
It being Banned Books Week when I began this book,  I don't think I could have chosen a more appropriate book to read than The Bookseller of Kabul.  The book was banned in 2008 by the Wyandotte, Michigan, Board  of Education; it tells of actual instances of banning and burning books in Afghanistan; and the main character Sultan Khan was a bookseller who himself specialized in selling illegal books and writings, often right under the noses of the illiterate Taliban a-holes.  Learning that most Ta ...more
Julian Lees
Jun 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I enjoyed reading about the overbearing Sultan and his family, especially Leila. Well researched but overall quite depressing.
This is the kind of book that must be read with caution. The author chose to write it as though it was a novel and not a journalistic account. This incurs the risk - as it is obvious when one reads other reviews - of having readers confusing it with actual fiction.

Then there's the whole "western gaze". This is a norwegian woman writing on a society she does not belong to, a society that is very different from hers, and it can perfectly be argued that five months spent amongst a family are not s
Dec 29, 2008 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-09
The most depressing book about the area that I have read. Most of the characters have little to no redeeming qualities or likeablity. The bookseller was the least likeable of all. The ones that were likeable and you wanted to root for you realize have no chance for happiness or an existance other than servitude and repression.
The book didn't flow very well either. At times I wasn't sure if I was reading a book or a collection of magazine articles. The author represents the people and events as
Sep 01, 2013 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
We all know those travel books who pretend to teach you about a culture of which the writer doesn't even speak the language: if you travel using this "guide", I can only feel sorry for you (alright, I'll drop the pretense of anonymity: I mean Rick Steeve).
Only this isn't about tourism, it's about the pain and suffering of an entire country that hasn't known peace and respect for as long as they can remember. Patronizing them and their "inferior" culture isn't just tasteless, it's downright damna
Sep 17, 2017 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
My knowledge of Afghan culture is really minimal so cannot really say how accurate a portrayal it is. I did however get a strong sense of judgement and superiority from this author which I didn't like.
H.A. Leuschel
Feb 20, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a difficult book to read for me. The kind of subjugation women have to contend with, the violence leashed out on them if they don't can never be justified, no matter how holy the words are said to be.

It was very well written, the way of life in Kabul vividly brought to life. I recommend it and hope since the writing of the book, life in Kabul has improved for everyone in every way!
Over two decades Sultan Khan sold books in defiance of the authorities. The authority changed from Afghans to communists to Taliban, but the persecutions remained the same; imprisonment, arrest, beatings and regular interrogation. He suffered watching illiterate Taliban thugs burn piles of his books in the streets of Kabul, so he hid them. His collection and stock was secreted across attics and rooms across the capital. Whilst he abhorred censorship and was passionate about all things literary h ...more
Sep 17, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I was slightly confused about this book as when I read the blurb I thought the book was going to be about the bookseller himself and his book shop and about how he defied the authorities to supply books to the people of Kabul but this book sways away from the blurb and concentrates more on Sultan Khan's family.

I am not sure I like the way the story reads, In spring 2002 award winning journalist Asne Seiratad spent four months living with the bookseller and his family but while the story is told
I understand people might be skipping this because it used to be, perhaps still is, a bestseller. I have heard this title a while ago, and until recently (view spoiler) never felt the urge to read this, because of an underlying suspicion that it might be a bestseller of th ...more
Mar 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: bookcrossing
4,5 stars: this was not an easy read, and this was not because the English was difficult, the prose was dense or any other such reason. I read this book in just 3 days (which is very fast for me), but I had a hard time reading it, because I empathized with the people – especially the women – portrayed here and gosh… do they have a hard life…
Even so, I did not like what I read in the introductory text by the author in which she says that although she’s written the book in literary form, it is ba
Pooja Singh
"In Afghanistan a woman’s longing for love is taboo. It is forbidden by the tribes’ notion of honor and by the mullahs. Young people have no right to meet, to love, or to choose. Love has little to do with romance; on the contrary, love can be interpreted as committing a serious crime, punishable by death." - Asne Seirstad, The Bookseller of Kabul
In the spring of 2002, following the Taliban's fall, the author spends four months living in Kabul with a bookseller's family. Sultan Khan, the owner
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Suffolk bookclub: The bookseller of Kabul - Asne Seierstad - 2018 September 9 7 Mar 22, 2019 12:52PM  
CdC - Gruppo di l...: Libro #16 - Il libraio di Kabul 2 21 Oct 03, 2017 01:09AM  
Goodreads Librari...: Book description 2 188 Oct 04, 2016 12:56AM  
The Book Vipers: Group Non Fiction Read - February 2016 - The Bookseller of Kabul. SPOILERS ALLOWED 13 35 Mar 08, 2016 10:01AM  
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Asne Seierstad has received numerous awards for her journalism and has reported from such war-torn regions as Chechnya, the Balkans, Afghanistan, and Iraq. She is fluent in five languages and lives in Norway.

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