The Pearl that Broke Its Shell: A Novel

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Afghan-American Nadia Hashimi's literary debut novel is a searing tale of powerlessness, fate, and the freedom to control one's own fate that combines the cultural flavor and emotional resonance of the works of Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Lisa See.

In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters.

But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-great grandmother, Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life the same way.

Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies. But what will happen once Rahima is of marriageable age? Will Shekiba always live as a man? And if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?

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About the author

Nadia Hashimi was born and raised in New York and New Jersey. Both her parents were born in Afghanistan and left in the early 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. In 2002, Nadia made her first trip to Afghanistan with her parents. She is a pediatrician and lives with her family in the Washington, DC, suburbs. She is the author of three books for adults, as well as the middle grade novels One Half from the East and The Sky at Our Feet. Visit her online at www.nadiahashimi.com.

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4.4
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Additional Information

Publisher
Harper Collins
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Published on
May 6, 2014
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Pages
480
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ISBN
9780062244772
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Features
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Language
English
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Genres
Fiction / Contemporary Women
Fiction / Family Life
Fiction / Historical
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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A vivid, unforgettable story of an unlikely sisterhood—an emotionally powerful and haunting tale of friendship that illuminates the plight of women in a traditional culture—from the author of the bestselling The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and When the Moon Is Low.

For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home. Nearly catatonic with shock, Zeba is unable to account for her whereabouts at the time of his death. Her children swear their mother could not have committed such a heinous act. Kamal’s family is sure she did, and demands justice.

Barely escaping a vengeful mob, Zeba is arrested and jailed. As Zeba awaits trial, she meets a group of women whose own misfortunes have also led them to these bleak cells: thirty-year-old Nafisa, imprisoned to protect her from an honor killing; twenty-five-year-old Latifa, who ran away from home with her teenage sister but now stays in the prison because it is safe shelter; and nineteen-year-old Mezhgan, pregnant and unmarried, waiting for her lover’s family to ask for her hand in marriage. Is Zeba a cold-blooded killer, these young women wonder, or has she been imprisoned, as they have been, for breaking some social rule? For these women, the prison is both a haven and a punishment. Removed from the harsh and unforgiving world outside, they form a lively and indelible sisterhood.

Into this closed world comes Yusuf, Zeba’s Afghan-born, American-raised lawyer, whose commitment to human rights and desire to help his motherland have brought him back. With the fate of this seemingly ordinary housewife in his hands, Yusuf discovers that, like Afghanistan itself, his client may not be at all what he imagines.

A moving look at the lives of modern Afghan women, A House Without Windows is astonishing, frightening, and triumphant.

A vivid, unforgettable story of an unlikely sisterhood—an emotionally powerful and haunting tale of friendship that illuminates the plight of women in a traditional culture—from the author of the bestselling The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and When the Moon Is Low.

For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home. Nearly catatonic with shock, Zeba is unable to account for her whereabouts at the time of his death. Her children swear their mother could not have committed such a heinous act. Kamal’s family is sure she did, and demands justice.

Barely escaping a vengeful mob, Zeba is arrested and jailed. As Zeba awaits trial, she meets a group of women whose own misfortunes have also led them to these bleak cells: thirty-year-old Nafisa, imprisoned to protect her from an honor killing; twenty-five-year-old Latifa, who ran away from home with her teenage sister but now stays in the prison because it is safe shelter; and nineteen-year-old Mezhgan, pregnant and unmarried, waiting for her lover’s family to ask for her hand in marriage. Is Zeba a cold-blooded killer, these young women wonder, or has she been imprisoned, as they have been, for breaking some social rule? For these women, the prison is both a haven and a punishment. Removed from the harsh and unforgiving world outside, they form a lively and indelible sisterhood.

Into this closed world comes Yusuf, Zeba’s Afghan-born, American-raised lawyer, whose commitment to human rights and desire to help his motherland have brought him back. With the fate of this seemingly ordinary housewife in his hands, Yusuf discovers that, like Afghanistan itself, his client may not be at all what he imagines.

A moving look at the lives of modern Afghan women, A House Without Windows is astonishing, frightening, and triumphant.

ODYSEJA ODWAŻNEJ AFGANKI, KTÓRA WRAZ Z RODZINĄ PRÓBUJE PRZEDOSTAĆ SIĘ DO LEPSZEGO ŚWIATA – PIERWSZA TAK PORUSZAJĄCA POWIEŚĆ O UCHODŹCACH

Mahmud kocha swoją żonę Feribę ponad życie. Są razem szczęśliwi i dobrze im się wiedzie. Wszystko jednak się zmienia, gdy w ich kraju wybucha wojna, a do władzy dochodzą talibowie.

Mahmud, z zawodu inżynier, staje się celem nowego reżimu fundamentalistów i zostaje zamordowany. Feriba, zmuszona do opuszczenia Kabulu z trójką dzieci, ma tylko jedną nadzieję: przedostać się do Europy i dołączyć do rodziny siostry w Anglii. Pod osłoną nocy, dzięki fałszywym dokumentom i życzliwym uchodźcom spotykanym po drodze, Feriba przedziera się do Iranu. Wyczerpana, zrozpaczona, ale zarazem silnie zdeterminowana, by dotrzeć do celu, nielegalnie dociera aż do Grecji. To w tym kraju rozegra się prawdziwy dramat: na ruchliwym rynku nastoletni syn Feriby, Selim, zostanie rozdzielony z resztą rodziny.

Główna bohaterka, stojąc w obliczu tragicznego wyboru, decyduje się na dalszą podróż z dwójką pozostałych dzieci, Selim zaś wpada do tak zwanego podziemia – grupy niezidentyfikowanych Afgańczyków, którzy nawiedzają ulice europejskich stolic.

 Czy  Feriba i Selim w końcu się odnajdą? Czy uda im się zacząć nowe życie na europejskim kontynencie? Jak potoczą się ich dalsze losy jako uchodźców w obcej dla nich kulturze?

DOWIEDZ SIĘ, CO NAPRAWDĘ PRZEŻYWAJĄ UCHODŹCY PRÓBUJĄCY PRZEDRZEĆ SIĘ DO EUROPY…

 

Perlen som sprengte skjellet er en sterk og realistisk bok som skildrer kvinneliv i Afghanistan på begynnelsen av 1900-tallet og i vår egen tid.

Kabul 2007: Taliban regjerer i gatene. Med en far som er rusavhengig og ingen brødre, er det sjelden Rahima og søstrene hennes får lov til å forlate huset for å gå på skolen. Deres eneste håp ligger i den eldgamle afghanske tradisjonen med bacha posh, som tillater Rahima å kle seg og bli behandlet som en gutt, helt til hun kommer i gifteferdig alder. Som gutt har hun en frihet hun bare kunne ha drømt om før, og som vil forandre henne for alltid.

Men Rahima er ikke den første i familien som er gjenstand for denne skikken. Et århundre tidligere reddet hennes tippoldemor Shekiba seg selv og skapte seg et nytt liv på samme måte, en forandring som førte henne ut på en reise fra den avsidesliggende landsbyen og til rikdommen og overfloden i kongens slott i Kabul.

«Nadia Hashimi har først og fremst skrevet en følsom og vakker familiehistorie. Denne engasjerende historien skildrer flere generasjoner og er et portrett av Afghanistan med all sin forvirrende og gåtefulle storhet. Samtidig gir den et bilde av den kampen afghanske kvinner fortsatt må kjempe.» Khaled Hosseini, forfatter av Drageløperen

«Et fascinerende innblikk i livet til afghanske kvinner som tilhører ulike generasjoner og er skilt av store avstander, men som likevel har mye felles. Dette er en historie som får deg til å tenke.» Shilpi Gowda, forfatter av Indias datter

«Hashimi vever sammen to oppslukende fortellinger i sin episke og fascinerende debut.» Booklist (starred review)

«Perlen som sprengte skjellet er en fortelling som blir værende hos meg. Jeg leste hele natten for å bli ferdig…» Bookreporter.com

«En poetisk, hjerteskjærende dokument over fortiede liv.» Kirkus Reviews

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