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  • Writer's pictureAmy GB

Tajikistan, Where Does the Water Come From, and Aminjon Shookuhi

My quest to read around the world began in China, so I am reading my way around China's borders: this time, with Tajikistan's National Author, Aminjon Shookuhi.

A Short Post About a Short Book

It was refreshing to read a book from this part of the world that doesn't include the word "Soviet". Aside from some mild fat-shaming and the fact that almost all the named characters are male, this is a sweet kids' story about community and infrastructure. Our main characters Asad and Samad are children living in a rural village in Tajikistan. (Apparently this is based on the author's home village in the north. There is a statue of him outside his old school.) The children's quest begins when their source of water runs dry in a hot July - that source being an OPEN DITCH which runs from house to house. You get how rural we are here?

It's not just this mild, small-scale book that's given me the impression Tajikistan is uninterested in (or perhaps incapable of) being a player on the world stage. It's almost impossible to find books written by Tajik authors in English. There are a couple of books by Brits and Americans available. There are books in which Tajikistan is lumped together with the other "-stans". There is what seems to be an excellent novel by a Russian student who studied in Tajikistan which is now out of print and therefore costs several hundred pounds secondhand.

So, Tajikistan, I will bid you a fond farewell. Perhaps I shall learn more about you in the future, but for now, I leave you to your mysterious, rural, post-Soviet life.

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