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Ru Freeman | On Sal Mal Lane with Anna Badkhen | The World is a Carpet: Four Seasons in an Afghan Village

Thu, June 26, 2014 7:30 P.M.
Parkway Central Library

Cost: FREE

“An achingly gorgeous heartbreaker,” (The Boston Globe) Ru Freeman’s novel On Sal Mal Lane takes place over the five years leading up to Sri Lanka’s 26-year civil war. The children growing up on a quiet street in Colombo fill their days with cricket matches, tentative romances, and small rivalries, their innocence in sharp contrast to the petty biases of the adults charged with their care and the mounting tremors of encroaching violence. A social justice activist and freelance journalist, Freeman is also the author of A Disobedient Girl, a finalist for the DSC Prize for South Asian Literature.

The tiny, remote western Afghanistan village of Oqa is known for its beautiful carpets. Woven meticulously by hand, a carpet takes about seven months to make and its sale to a dealer for roughly $200 can sustain a family for a year. In her new book The World is a Carpet, Anna Badkhen charts the lives of one family as their daughter-in-law, the family’s sole breadwinner, completes one magnificent carpet. She follows the family to weddings, funerals, through Ramadan and winter snowstorms, amid tedium and grinding poverty—made bearable by opium for young and old alike—faithfully documenting the harsh realities of staying alive. 

Parkway Central Library
1901 Vine Street (between 19th and 20th Streets on the Parkway)
Philadelphia, PA 19103

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