An intimate and fascinating portrait of a family and country.
In spring 2002, following the fall of the Taliban, award-winning journalist Asne Seierstad spent four months living with a bookseller and his family in Kabul.
For more than twenty years Sultan Khan defied the authorities - be they communist or Taliban - to supply books to the people of Kabul. He was arrested, interrogated and imprisoned by the communists, and watched illiterate Taliban soldiers burn piles of his books in the street. He even resorted to hiding most of his stock - almost ten thousand books - in attics all over Kabul.
But while Khan is passionate in his love of books and his hatred of censorship, he also has strict views on family life and the role of women. As an outsider Asne Seierstad found herself in a unique position, able to move freely between the private, restricted sphere of the women - including Khan's two wives - and the freer, more public lives of the men.
It is an experience that Seierstad finds both fascinating and frustrating.