Tuesday, April 30, 2013

The Honey Thief-Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman

The Honey Thief

Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman

Viking, Apr 18 2013, $26.95

ISBN: 9780670026487

This thirteen interrelated story collection provides readers with a strong discerning glimpse into the Hazara people though the oral tales handed down through generations for centuries in their part of Afghanistan. The opening tale “Hazara” provides background into a minority people living in a landlocked nation who believe the “tribe is a world.” In the title story young Abbas stole honey hives before becoming a hive-keeper apprentice. “The Life of Abdul Khaliq” revolves around his assassinating a murderous king; followed by “The Death of Abdul Khaliq” when the dead monarch’s son becomes ruler and has the assassin and his extended family and friends hung. “The Cookbook of the Master Poisoner Ghoroob-e-astab of Mashad” is filled with poisonous treats that diners including royals would die for. During the Soviet occupation, Hazara leader Abdul Ali Mazari sends Abbas the beekeeper on a mission of forgiveness; his traveling companions die during an air assault yet he saves the life of “The Russian” enemy combatant. This is a great look at the resiliency of the Hazara people though a rich story-telling tradition.

Harriet Klausner

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