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School Library Journal
This slender volume offers readers an intriguing glimpse of life in a remote corner of the world. In the 1990s, L'Homme traveled to the site of the ancient kingdom of Chitral (near the border of Afghanistan). On three successive visits, he trekked through this mountainous region, learning the language and collecting stories. Sardonic, bittersweet, and often tragic, these three tales reflect the hardscrabble life of this country. "Nano Begal" ("Begal's Mother"), from the 17th century, recounts a polo match that has a tragic aftermath. The retellings are flavored with detail and language suitable to the oral tradition. Each one ends with a rhetorical question: "Should we believe this?" and a moral, as in "Kakho Shilogh" ("The Crow King"): "Crows are often wiser than kings!" or in "Hashim Bigim" ("The Disappointed Princess") "The soul of a princess is often more pure than that of kings!" L'Homme's travel scrapbook is appended; it contains a detailed regional map, illustrations and color photographs, and personal observations of the people he met and places he visited. Place's elegantly simple, naive watercolor and pen-and-ink illustrations add to the attractive, hand-crafted design. Overall, this respectful introduction to a remote culture and its people strikes all the right notes, and will delight a wide audience of readers.
—Marilyn TaniguchiCopyright 2006 Reed Business Information.