Book Reviews

3 books to give you a glimpse of Life and Terror in Afghanistan

15th August 2021, India celebrated it’s 75th Independence Day, the same day Afghanistan is taken over by Taliban. Two neighboring countries, two opposite fates. We were hoisting flags while people of Afghan were running all around, trying to flee from the clutches of the tyrant. 

From past many decades, Afghanistan has been a torn land as Taliban’s rose their head and enforced terror in the name of religion, committed massacre against Afghan civilians and destroyed lands and monuments. With women being oppressed to children and men being denied the right to live a dignified life, the people in Afghan have been living under perpetual fear and threat to their life.

I as a human being am terribly saddened with the current situation in Afghan and so I thought that I will share some popular books which could give us a brief look into the lives of the people of Afghan. 

  1. The Kite Runner – Khalid Hussaini: “For you, a thousand times over” if you read this book, this line will stick with you for your life. The story is about two friends Hassan and Amir.  Hassan stays back in Afghan as Amir scrams to America with his father for a safer life only to return 2 decades later to save Hassan’s son. 

As a child, Amir’s love for writing got appreciated by his uncle Rahim Khan, his father’s friend, and he perused it as a career in US. One fine day he gets a call from Rahim Khan who calls him back to Afghan and discloses the secrets of Hassan’s identity. Hassan and his wife were killed protecting Amir’s old house and now his son Sohrab is in an orphanage which is regularly visited by Taliban’s. Rahim Khan asks him to rescue the boy. 

In between all the pages of the book, you will read about friendship, a father and sons’ relationship, guilt, betrayal and redemption. Khalid Hussaini’s first book was a runway hit. 

Image courtesy Google

2. The Bookseller of Kabul -Asne Seierstad: The book is about a book seller, Sultan Khan, who strived to sell books to the people of Kabul going against the new law of land. He gets arrested, beaten up, interrogated and imprisoned by the communist and his books are burnt by the Taliban soldiers. But he still doesn’t give up and even hides the books, almost ten thousand of them around the attics all over Kabul. The book also talks about the torture that the Afghan women must undergo by the hands of  the sinister organisation- Taliban.

The book was initially criticised as the Author is a Norwegian journalist and not an Afghani. She wrote this book after she had spent time with the family of the bookseller Shah Muhammad Rais (name changed to Sultan Khan in the story) and she portrays the people, family, ravages of war and the hardship they must endure.  

Image courtesy Google

3. The Carpet Weaver – Nemat Sadat: This book is about Kanishka, son of a carpet weaver who falls in love with his friend Maihan but the romance must be under wraps for the fear of death penalty on Kunis, termed used for gay men. War breaks into the country and Maihna manages to flee with his family. Kanishka’s father gets arrested and later dies. Kanisha plans to escape too with his mother and sister and the person who was to help them, instead sent them to an Internment camp in Pakistan where they were treated like slaves and made to do laborious work and weave carpets. Kanishka’s arduous journey of escaping from the camp and landing in USA to find his love, the story will leave you teary eyed. 

Being an Afghani himself, the author has thrown light on the life and culture of Afghanistan and the struggle of being a teen gay boy. You can also read my review on this book here.

Image Courtesy Google

The stories that attract the readers the most are that of endurance and the modern authors of Afghan have opened their country to their readers as they talk about the upheaval and unrest in the country which has blighted Afghans rich history. These are 3 of the many books which could tell you about the harrowing tale of current ethos of Afghan and fundamentalist misogyny.

Keep the people of Afghan in your prayers. 

22 replies on “3 books to give you a glimpse of Life and Terror in Afghanistan”

I’ve read the first two, but at this point, I want to understand what’s happening there and why – I think I’m going to look for some non-fiction books to understand the situation there better. It’s so heartbreaking for the Afghans – a 40-year war and now, all their hopes dashed.

Yes these are fiction reads but in all these books the story is either based on the author or narrated to the author giving us a glimpse of the reality there.

It’s really sad and depressing to see what the people of Afghan have to go through and my prayers are with them.

I have read The Kite Runner. What we read in the books are just words but I can’t imagine what the people must be going through in reality.

I had heard a lot about the kite runner before but never get a chance to read it. after reading your post, feeling that I want to read this for sure. yes, Afghani people are going through hard phase, my prayers are with them.

Kite runner is always a favorite buddy and you are right it brings us the closest to Afghanis, carpet weaver is on my mind next, thank you for recommending

I have read the Kite runner, shall check the other two too. At the same time praying for the normalcy to return to Afghanistan.

What’s happening in Afghanistan is utterly sad state of affairs. I have heard about Kite Runner and the Carpet Weaver someday I will surely start with these two to get a deeper glance in the lives of Afghan people.

Above all 3, I would like to read kite runner. This book attracts me the way you have described it. I am feeling sad for all the women and kids in Afghanistan . Wishing safe life for them

I have read the Kite runner, it has many poignant issues that can trouble your mind. Defeating Taliban is precarious situation, as Taliban isn’t a group or regime it is a mindset. How will you defeat a mindset? These books will be good to read to understand the grund situation.

It is sad to see Afghanistan slpping back into dark days. Hope things improve soon, and the people come out of the darkness. These are some good books, I have read and also watched the film, ‘Kite Runner:, it is a really poignant account of life in Afghanistan.

I have read about the conditions there in a Bengali book called Kabuliwalar Bangali Bou by Sushmita Banerjee. Sadly the author passed away in a shooting in Paktita, a few years back.

So agree these books have opened a pandora box of life and terror in Afghanistan. I have read the kite runner out of these three and it had a strong impact on my mind. Would love to read the pther two as well.

I’ve read Kite Runner and was bombed out for a week after that. Couldn’t gather the courage to read any other book on Afghanistan after that. The terror and pain is too much to take and stays with you.

Have read the kite runner and heard about the other two. The events in Afghanistan are indeed very sad and I sincerely hope that peace comes to the country.

It’s really really really a very tough time for Afghanistan people what ever they are going through may God grace them to get free soon… And the books look amazing read definitely will be checking out.

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