It is to Atiq Rahimi's credit that his heroine is no saint suffering quietly in purdah. Nor is she much of a heroine. As the woman's one-way discourse with her presumably unconscious husband goes on, the layers are peeled back, revelations come forth, and what emerges is the portrait of a complex and nuanced human being. Rahimi's heroine is brave, resilient, a devout mother, but she is also flawed in fundamentally human ways, a woman capable of lying, manipulating, of being spiteful, a creature that, pushed hard enough, bares her teeth.
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