Winner of France's prestigious Goncourt Prize for 2008, and set in modern-day Aghanistan, this explosive and moving short novel, with a shocking twist, takes a compelling literary look behind the veil, daring to confront taboos of female oppression and sexuality. A young woman sits at her husband's bedside, twisting her worry beads, reciting prayers. Shot in the neck by a fellow soldier, he is in a coma. The passage of time is measured by the sound of his breathing, the slow drip that keeps him alive and the calls to prayer in the streets outside. Consumed by her vigil and his medical care, the woman is alone and desperate for any sign of life from her comatose husband. As her mind appears to unravel, so it becomes intensely clear-sighted. Now is her chance -- her first ever -- to speak without being censored. Empowered by her husband's silence, she steps out of the shadows and begins her confessional...Soldiers raid the flat. In the room she acts out her fantasies and her revenge. But always she comes back to the bedside, to pour out her love and her hate and her sexual desires, as though to a sang-e-sabur -- the black patience stone of Persian mythology.
Finally, spurred to new heights of daring, she spills out her most explosive secret.