Atiq Rahimi’s “Water Carriers” at Persian bookstores

December 4, 2021 - 18:2

TEHRAN – French-Afghan writer and filmmaker Atiq Rahimi’s latest novel “Les porteurs d’eau” (“The Water Bearers” or “The Water Carriers”) has appeared in Persian.

The novel Cheshmeh has been translated into Persian by Banafsheh Farisabadi and is the publisher of the book.

“The Water Carriers” is a refined and powerful novel that sets two Afghan stories side by side. One takes place in Kabul, the other in exile between Paris and Amsterdam.

The two protagonists, Tom – or Tamim – and Yussef, linked by subtle differences and deep similarities, are both lovesick. The fate of the gigantic statues of the Buddha in the Bamiyan Valley, which the Taliban destroyed on March 11, 2001, looms over everything. In fact, the two stories coincide with that event, which deeply shocked the world.

Tom fled his homeland when he was only 20 years old, and now, at 45, after many years of marriage and a young daughter, he decides to run away, to join Nuria, whom he met by chance and who has become first a lover and then a reason to escape from his life as an uprooted exile. Without being fully aware of it, he wishes to return to his origins, which he rejected when he arrived in France as a young man.

Yussef, on the other hand, lives in Kabul. His job is to bring water to those who need it. As months of drought that have hit the city hard drag on, he has become ever more important. 

He alone knows the secret of how to descend into the depths of the mountain caves and draw the water that everyone lacks. According to the Islamic law of levirate, he is obliged to take care of his sister-in-law, Shirin, whom his brother, fleeing abroad, has abandoned. Yussef is secretly in love with her and is struggling with himself and his beliefs.

Photo: Front cover of the Persian translation of Atiq Rahimi’s novel “The Water Carriers”.

MMS/YAW

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