99 Nights in Logar by Jamil Jan Kochai

99 Nights in Logar

Jamil Jan Kochai

Afghan culture comes alive in this funny, and at times beautiful, boyhood adventure. Stories swirl within stories; real or imagined, folk tales and family histories. Arabic words are scattered throughout, left untranslated, but a Western reader can still understand. I suspect there are deeper levels to what is being said for those who can translate. The final tale is entirely in Pashto so reserved, therefore, for those who can read it.

Extract

Down the road the voice of a child called out the adhan from the megaphone of a mosque’s citadel, and even with the static and the echo and the cracking of his pitch, it sounded so sweet in the fading light, with the fields darkening, and the crickets chirping their songs.
When the adhan finished, Zia stepped through the chinar and started to pray his Maghrib Salah near the stream. He recited his verses out loud, singing the surahs even though he prayed by himself. Funny thing was Zia didn’t even know Arabic. Couldn’t tell an Aboo from an Amoo from an Aloo.

Parallels
  • The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini
  • Stand by me - the film