A Mighty Heart, p. 66

Self raced through the last hundred pages of The Coming of the Third Reich on Thursday afternoon.  Yes, self stayed supine on couch, back curled over into crooked position for hours (no wonder everything aches), and never left the house (after she got back from teaching her two classes, that is).

Then self began reading Mariane Pearl’s A Mighty Heart.  Self saw the movie, starring Angelina Jolie, last year.  It was a surprisingly good movie, and Angelina surprised self by delivering a touching performance.

A Mighty Heart, the book on which the movie was based, has been on self’s reading list for ages.  Danny Pearl was a Stanford alum.  She remembers Mariane Pearl on talk shows —  that almost preternatural calmness!  Her husband was murdered while she was expecting their child!

Self couldn’t place her looks:  she looked, maybe, Indian.  Maybe Caribbean.  Her name was almost exactly the same as self’s, except for one “n.”

Self expected the book to be a fast read.  It isn’t.  It’s idiosyncratic, angry, and amazing.

Here’s a passage from the day after everyone realizes that Danny Pearl has been kidnapped.  All morning, Pakistani security personnel have been swarming through the house Mariane and Danny stayed in.  He left the previous day to interview someone named Gilani and never returned.  She asks a Pakistani intelligence officer whether he has heard of the name:

“Tell us what you know of Gilani,” I tell Dost.

“We don’t know anything about him,” he answers.  How can they not know this man?  My beautiful trust begins to falter.

The Gilani family, he explains, were the caretakers for a historical Sufi shrine in an area of Lahore.  Gilani is “a very respected figure of Lahore.  That’s all we know.”

My heart sinks.  I think, these fuckers don’t know anything.  Only then does it occur to me that American authorities have not yet deigned to pay us a visit.

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