Friday, May 10, 2013

The Honey Thief by Najaf Mazari and Robert Hillman

I like this book; I like fables from different cultures.  Fables provide universal and societal truths.  They also distill life and people into simple rules which tend to repeat.  My grandmother used to tell me like stories so they sound familiar, and comforting.  Fables also provide insight into different cultures and their norms, but remind us that people are the same globally.

The Honey Thief tells the stories of the Hazara from Afghanistan.  A smaller tribe and not dominant in the region, they've built up a support structure among themselves.  I enjoyed insight into their norms and daily life.  From the north of the country, they herd sheep and goats and lead a simpler life than I do in Los Angeles.

Structurally, the book has an introduction from the author who is now a merchant in Australia.  I found his perspective enlightening but a little awkward.  The publisher clearly weighed and decided how authentic to keep his introduction and the stories, leaning a little more to authentic over polish.

The stories are fun and fairly basic, enough so that they could be read to children.

If you like this sort of book, The Honey Thief is a fabulous read.  If you're looking for more modern sophistication or edge I'd pick another book.  Worth my time.

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