Wednesday, 15 July 2015

Review: When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi

Mahmoud's passion for his wife Fereiba, a schoolteacher, is greater than any love she's ever known. But their happy, middle-class world—a life of education, work, and comfort—implodes when their country is engulfed in war, and the Taliban rises to power.

Mahmoud, a civil engineer, becomes a target of the new fundamentalist regime and is murdered. Forced to flee Kabul with her three children, Fereiba has one hope to survive: she must find a way to cross Europe and reach her sister's family in England. With forged papers and help from kind strangers they meet along the way, Fereiba make a dangerous crossing into Iran under cover of darkness. Exhausted and brokenhearted but undefeated, Fereiba manages to smuggle them as far as Greece. But in a busy market square, their fate takes a frightening turn when her teenage son, Saleem, becomes separated from the rest of the family.

Faced with an impossible choice, Fereiba pushes on with her daughter and baby, while Saleem falls into the shadowy underground network of undocumented Afghans who haunt the streets of Europe's capitals. Across the continent Fereiba and Saleem struggle to reunite, and ultimately find a place where they can begin to reconstruct their lives.

Hardcover, 400 pages
Expected publication: July 21st 2015 by William Morrow
Terri's Thoughts

**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher William Morrow via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  The expected publication date is July 21st 2015**

I was pretty excited for this read.  I had read Hashimi's previous novel The Pearl That Broke it's Shell (review here ) and loved it so my expectations were set high for this book.  I can say I was not disappointed.

I won't re-hash the story as I feel the book synopsis does a good job describing the plot.  As Hashimi's previous novel did, this story educated me more about a region that I honestly know little about.  I am going to assume that some of the background information is historically accurate.  I did not know that women in Afghanistan used to have the same liberties as I currently know.  I had assumed that it had always been the way we know if now where woman are not treated as equal.  When Fereiba described her outfit of a pencil skirt I was initially confused until the story described the transition of the Afghanistan of old to the new one.

I am not sure why stories that take place in this geography fascinate me so much.  Maybe it is because it is so different from what I know, or maybe because it is almost always tragic, I don't know.  I am really not going to analyze it to much.

Back to the plot...a little bit.  I could not even imagine going through what this family went through in order to try to escape their reality.  Does it ever put things in to perspective when I am sweating the small stuff.  My reality is a dream compared to theirs.

I encourage anyone who likes to read about the plight of people in real places to pick up this book.  Both books actually.  They are eye opening, compelling, well written and simply entertaining.  I look forward to discovering any future work by Hashimi.

In closing I have to say that I felt the ending to the story was completely appropriate.  Symbolic in a way.  For anyone who has read this I would love to know if you agree.

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