World is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village

Author(s): Anna Badkhen

Biography / Memoir

Anna Badkhen first travelled to Afghanistan in 2001, as a war correspondent. She has returned many times since, drawn by a land that geography has made a perpetual battleground, and by a people who sustain an exquisite tradition there. Through the four seasons in which a new carpet is woven by the women and children of Oqa, she immortalises their way of life much as the carpet does-from the petal half-finished where a hungry infant needs care to the interruptions when the women trade sex jokes or go fill in for wedding musicians scared away by the Taliban.


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"Like so many pieces of yarn, [Badkhen] weaves the words of Persian poets, Western explorers, contemporary journalists and scholars into her narrative, enriching her own account with those that came before... a powerful, unsentimental study of life persisting in extreme conditions. Perhaps the greatest testament to her success is that, upon reading the final page, the reader wonders how the people populating her narrative are faring, and desperately hopes that they are all right." -"The New York Observer" "Capture[s] the fatalistic ambience of a place where opium addiction is rampant, mobile phones are an impossible luxury and the Taliban lurk in the shadows." -"The New York Times Book Review" "Transporting... even in this harshest of environments, Badkhen is able to capture kinship, laughter, and merriment... At the risk of spouting cliches (but don't they become such because of the universal truths buried within?), Badkhen weaves her own literary magic." -"Christian Science Monitor" "Intrepid... Season by season, rite by rite, encounter by encounter, thread by illuminating thread, Badkhen weaves a glorious prose carpet that poignantly captures the surface and the soul of life in Oqa, and in all the Oqas that grace the loom of Afghanistan." -"National Geographic" "This book will leave you entertained, informed and heartbroken. It will allow you not only to imagine another place but also to bear witness to a community of cultural producers and preservers of the highest skill whose women are able to create objects of beauty amid poverty, hardship and bloodshed." -"Toronto""Star" "Anna Badkhen is the latest chronicler to show how great beauty can come out of great deprivation... borders on the sublime. The World is a Carpet is a well-spun tale of a remote world we rarely see." -"Financial Times" ""The World Is a Carpet" will give readers a better understanding of this mysterious land and the courageous and deter

Anna Badkhen has won awards for her reporting from the Middle East, Central Asia, East Africa, and her native Russia and the Caucasus. Her writing has appeared in "The New York Times," "Foreign Policy," "The New Republic," "The Boston Globe," and other publications. The author of "Peace Meals "and other nonfiction books, she lives in Philadelphia.

General Fields

  • : 9781594632679
  • : Penguin Putnam Inc
  • : Hudson Street Press (an imprint of Penguin Group (USA) Inc)
  • : July 2014
  • : 210mm X 140mm
  • : United States
  • : July 2014
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 305.409581
  • : 288
  • : black & white illustrations
  • : Anna Badkhen