an unexpected glimpse of light

January 15, 2008

A picture of a British soldier in Afghanistan caught my eye on the Guardian website, much more than the accompanying story about ‘The hardest night of their lives’. I’m not sure why but the country has a bit of aelliot.jpg magical draw on me… perhaps because it seems so remote,and has stunning landscapes, from the pictures I have seen. It’s also tucked into a very special corner of the world, sharing borders with Iran, Pakistan, Uzbekistan, Turkmenistan, Tajikistan, India and even a tiny bit with China.

Despite the runaway success of Khaled Hosseini’s books, Afghanistan seems to be a difficult country to get to know. Jason Elliot gave me a rare glimpse into the country last year with his book, ‘An Unexpected Light’. He travelled there twice, recently and once in the early 80’s (to fight with the mujahidin!). His description of Afghans he got to know and met are loving testimony to a people who have seen so much in a very short time (and continue to). His prose describing the landscapes were a little overlong in places, but the personal anecdotes more than made up for it.


4 Responses to “an unexpected glimpse of light”

  1. Christine Says:

    Have you seen Osama? Do you think you’ll see the Kite Runner film? I somehow don’t think it will be very satisfying. hum.

  2. sunburn Says:

    I have as I was on a bit of an Afghan film roll, but was slightly spooked by it. I guess it can be a spooky place though. I also saw and liked Kandahar better, though that was even scarier.

    Don’t know yet about the Kite Runner but I think I’ll start his second book soon. Have you heard about the fiasco srurrounding the boys? Very odd, but sad. There was an interesting article about the British Egyptian actor who played the grown up Amir, Khalid Abdalla. Check it out:,,2225109,00.html

  3. […] again by the time Little Jacket and I finished the film. Sadly, the film didn’t give me my Afghanistan fix. The curse of Hollywood? Posted in film | Tagged kite runner […]

  4. […] series of photos by Hans Stakelbeek now showing caught my Afghan-fancy, especially the one above. The men are Afghans training to become assistant police officers. If I […]

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