Homebody is quite the character. From the first of her lines I’ve had to question her reliability as a narrator. She comes across at most as mentally ill, at the least very confused. She tells us that she is on antidepressants and that she frequently takes “his [her husband’s] pills instead of mine so I can know what he’s feeling” (Kushner 13). Given her frequent rambling and ability to change topics on a whim we are left to determine what is real vs. what is imagined. Not only are we learning of foreign lands through the lens of an English woman, but she is getting her information through old, outdated guidebooks while being under the influence of mind-altering drugs.
Homebody tells the audience “I love the world” (Kushner 27). She tries to explain her position in a confusing run on sentence, but in the next sentence she explains “I love…this guidebook. Its foxed unfingered pages. Forgotten words: ‘Quizilbash.’ Its sorrowing supercessional displacement by all that has since occurred. So lost; and also so familiar. The home (she makes the gesture) away from home. Recognizable: not how vast bust how crowded the world is, consequences to everything” (Kushner 27).
Her love of the world comes not from personal experience, but through the experience of others, through the polished, well-thought out wording of guidebooks. Perhaps a bit of a stretch, but Homebody reminds me of people that live their lives in fantasy worlds designed by prominent authors and perpetuated by fan fiction writers. Just as there is nothing wrong with fantasizing about living in the world of Harry Potter or Frodo Baggins, there is nothing inherently wrong with learning about other lands through guidebooks. It does become problematic when, such as with Homebody, the guidebooks are one’s only source of information because they lack a critical eye and a fair account of the real.
Given the outdated nature of Homebody’s guidebook we are certainly getting outdated and incorrect information. I was curious to see a more modern portrait of Kabul, though it seemed a little hard to find. I did come across a slideshow located here which shows some very beautiful architecture and scenery.
“Modern city of Kabul, Afghanistan.” CheckMyCity. CheckMyCity.com. Web. 21 Feb 2012.
Kushner, Tony. Homebody/Kabul. Revised. New York: Theatre Communications Group, Inc., 2004. Print.