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Atiq Rahimi | June 11, 2013

Atiq Rahimi’s reputation for writing war stories of immense drama and intimacy began with his first novel, Earth and Ashes, about fathers and sons and the terrible strain inflicted on families, when an Afghan village is destroyed by the Russian army.

A Thousand Rooms of Dream and Fear takes place in 1979, during a period of social and political upheaval in Kabul. On the way home from a night of drinking, a university student named Farhad is arrested and brutally beaten. A few hours later, broken and confused, he slowly regains consciousness, only to find himself in the care of a beautiful woman who has dragged him into her home to protect him.

Winner of the Prix Goncourt, The Patience Stone is the tale of a woman caring for her brain-damaged husband, who was shot in the neck during a petty conflict. After years of living in a society of islamic fundamentalism, she finds herself strangely liberated by her husband’s condition. She tells him her innermost thoughts and secrets, many of them dark and deeply repressed, never knowing whether he’s able to hear her or not.


Born in Afghanistan in 1962, Atiq Rahimi fled to France in 1984. There he has made a name as a writer, film and documentary maker of exceptional note. The film of his first novel, Earth and Ashes, was in the Official Selection at Cannes, 2004. Since 2001, he has returned to Afghanistan many times to set up a Writers' House in Kabul and offer support and training to young writers and film-makers. His novel The Patience Stone won the Prix Goncourt, France's most prestigious literary prize. He lives in Paris.