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The Taliban Cricket Club: A Novel Hardcover – May 15, 2012


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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Ecco (May 15, 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0062091255
  • ISBN-13: 978-0062091253
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.1 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (133 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,405,812 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

“An engaging new novel. . . . Murari’s imagined tale of how a desperate group of Afghans seizes this opportunity to seek their freedom offers insights into the dangers, deprivations, passions, and aspirations of everyday Afghan life.” (National Geographic Traveler)

“Fans of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner will here find a similarly uplifting story about good people surviving their horrific circumstances. . . . Murari has crafted a tense, compelling story.” (Library Journal)

“There is a twist in the tale—and it is a clever one.” (San Francisco Chronicle)

“Required reading.” (New York Post)

“A beautifully written novel that takes the reader through the shrouded world of one woman whose only crime is being a woman.... I loved this riveting book.” (Deborah Rodriguez, New York Times bestselling author of Kabul Beauty School)

“A moving, splendidly realized story of courage and grit in modern-day Kabul. I was won over by Murari’s uplifting and vastly entertaining sporting tale, which reaffirms the power of friendship, fellowship, and love in the face of all forms of tyranny.” (Vikas Swarup, author of Slumdog Millionaire and Six Suspects)

“A lovely, diverting and moving tale of contemporary Kabul, about love, courage, passion, tyranny and cricket. Murari has an uncommon tale to tell, and does so with imagination and empathy.” (Shashi Tharoor, award-winning author of The Great Indian Novel)

“A compelling novel about cricket in war-torn Kabul, narrated by a young woman who refuses to be silenced by the Taliban.” (Shelf Awareness)

From the Back Cover

Rukhsana is a spirited young journalist who works for the Kabul Daily in Afghanistan. She takes care of her ill, widowed mother and her younger brother, Jahan. But then Rukhsana is summoned to appear at the infamous Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, and their quiet and tenuous way of life is shattered.

There, the malevolent minister, Zorak Wahidi, announces that the Taliban has found a new way to pursue the diplomatic respect it has long been denied: cricket. On the world stage of sports, the Taliban will prove they are a fair and just society. Rukhsana and several other journalists are to report that a tournament will be held to determine who will play for Afghanistan. Anyone can put together a team. Women are forbidden to play. The winners will travel to Pakistan to train, then go on to represent Afghanistan around the world.

Rukhsana knows that this is a shameful, and deeply surreal, idea. The Taliban will never embrace a game rooted in civility, fairness, and equality, with no tolerance for violence or cheating. And no one in Afghanistan even knows how to play the game.

Except for Rukhsana.

This could be a way to get her cousins and her brother out of Afghanistan for good. But before she can organize a team, the terrifying Wahidi demands her hand in marriage. He finds her both exciting and infuriating, and wants to control her unruly, willful nature. The union would be her prison, stripping away what few freedoms she has left under Taliban rule and forcing her away from her family. Not marrying Wahidi, however, might mean her death. Her family rallies around her, willing to do anything to protect her, even if it means imprisonment or worse.

But Rukhsana realizes that Wahidi may have given her a way out, too. With the help of her loyal, beloved brother and cousins, she forms her own cricket team and sets about teaching them how to win their freedom—with a bat and a ball.

Inspired by the Taliban's actual and unprecedented promotion of cricket in 2000 in an attempt to gain acceptance in the global community, internationally bestselling author Murari weaves a riveting story of strength, hope, and soaring human triumph that proves no tyranny is ever absolute in the face of love.


More About the Author

Timeri Murari is an award winning writer, filmmaker, and playwright, who began his career as journalist on the Kingston Whig Standard in Ontario, Canada. He writes for the Guardian, Sunday Times, and other magazines and newspapers internationally. He has published both fiction and non-fiction, and his bestselling novel, Taj, was translated into 19 lanugages and has recently been reissued by Penguin India. In 2006, he published a memoir, My Temporary Son, exploring the difficulties of adopting a desperately ill orphan. Timeri now lives with his wife in his ancestral home of Chennai, India.

Customer Reviews

Very well written and suspenseful!
Nurse Ratchet
Bought it a few weeks ago but was reading other books so just started reading this one yesterday and I could not put it down until I finished it.
Jane K
I loved the story and the description of life under the rule of the Taliban was eye opening.
Ira & Linda Bass

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

24 of 25 people found the following review helpful By S. McGee TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on May 21, 2012
Format: Hardcover
Rukhsana is a fairly typical young woman in many ways -- she's worried about her mother, who is unwell, and unhappy about being separated from the man she loves. But then comes the really hard part -- it's about 1999 or 2000, and she lives in Kabul, under the Taliban regime, where she can't leave the house without being escorted by her younger brother or another male member of her family. What makes this even tougher is that Rukhsana worked as a journalist until a Talib commander sent her home from work, telling her that "women should only be seen in the one and the grave." Now she is sending stories about the oppressive regime to Delhi, where they are being printed -- and it seems Wahidi, the minister for the propagation of virtue and the prevention of vice, has figured out who is responsible. When the novel opens, she is summoned to his offices, where she finds herself one of the journalists told to announce that Afghanistan plans to participate in global cricket matches -- after all, Wahidi informs them, the clothing is modest and no women will be allowed to play.

That's just the starting point for what is at heart a deeply conventional romantic suspense story, complete with improbable coincidences and miraculous twists and turns of fate. If that's all it was, however, I would probably have stopped reading after 30 or 40 pages. Instead, Timeri Murari somehow has transcended gender and nationality (and age, I presume) to imagine himself into the persona of a young Afghan woman, trapped in her home, waiting for her mother to succumb to cancer and for her distant cousin, now in America, to send for her so they can be married as the family has arranged.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Hande Z on June 12, 2012
Format: Hardcover
A poignant but uplifting story about a defiant, independent woman, Rukhsana and her escape from the Zorak Wahidi, the Minister for the Promotion of Virtues and the Prevention of Vice in Afghanistan, a country where they "banned music, movies, television, computers, picnic, and wedding parties." There were no more cameras, paintings, pets, alcohol, magazines and books. Zorak wanted Rukhsana to be his wife but his intentions were not honorable. He intended to treat her as his personal slave for the act of defiance she displayed four years before when he slapped and whipped her for speaking back to him at the office of the Kabul Times where she worked as a journalist. He sent her and all the women home, saying, "Women should be seen only in the home and in the graveyard."

However, Rukhsana and her brother, Jahan saw their chance to flee Afghanistan when Zorak declared that they would have a cricket tournament to show the world how civilized the country was. The winning team would get a free pass to train in Pakistan. Jahan and his cousins rounded up a team, but none in the team even knew how to play cricket - except Rukhsana. So she dressed as a man (from her old costume she used to play "Shylock") to teach the team how to play.

Pursued by Droon (Zorak's equally evil brother) Rukhsana went into hiding bidding her time. Like Zorak, Droon sneered at Jahan saying that "Women should be hidden so that they do not corrupt men's minds." In the interim, Rukhsana had to train the team and teach them all the 42 rules of cricket "each with a long explanation". Murari spiced the story with clever, humorous dialogue. When Parwaaze was named the team captain, his cousin Qubad asked naively, "Why only captain and not general?
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Biggles on May 31, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Others have written better reviews than I ever could, but I just wanted to add that this was one of the best books I've read in a very long time. I picked it up and had to read it in just one sitting. Yes, you can pretty much figure out the ending, but how the author arrives there is the magic. What a wonderful story and I hate most sports!
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By Dattatraya R. Korde on June 27, 2012
Format: Hardcover
I am an ardent cricket follower and so the word cricket made me pick up this book and start reading it. This book though is much more than cricket. Cricket is just a medium used in this book by the central character Rukhsana and her cousins to escape from the tyrannical rule of the Taliban.

The author has painted a complete picture of the atrocities committed by Taliban onto the Afghan people in the name of religion during their regime. Using a fictional story, the author takes you into a wild journey of the once beautiful Kabul and narrates through Rukhsana how Taliban brought the glory of this nation down to dust.

Its only eventually through cricket that Rukhsana and her cousins can find an escape from the Talib tyrants but this does not happen without a hefty cost and not everyone is lucky.

Overall it is a very gripping story and makes me appreciate the freedom that I have as an individual.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful By Ewart Rouse on March 27, 2013
Format: Hardcover
Say the word Taliban and Americans generally think of gun-toting rebels and suicide bombers who target foreign troops in Afghanistan.
Cricket, that gentlemen's game in which cheating and bad behavior are a no-no, is the last thing that would come to mind.
At least, it was that way with me - until I read "The Taliban Cricket Club."
The story-line goes something like this: The Taliban, back when it ruled Afghanistan, is so concerned about the country's image as an uncivilized society that it promotes cricket - the epitome of civility - to its youth.
The main thrust of that effort is a tournament in which the winner gets to go to Pakistan for professional training, a step toward Afghanistan gaining International Cricket Council membership, and parity with the established cricketing countries of the world.
One of the competing teams is led by the protagonist, Rukhsana, an educated and enlightened woman who hates the regime and despises the antagonist, a Taliban leader who wants to claim her as one of his wives. Rukhsana views the tournament as an opportunity to escape it all and join her true love abroad. But first, her team has to win. But, to use the often quoted parlance, cricket is a funny game and the best team doesn't always win - and in this instance, guaranteed not to win when the system is rigged, gentlemen's game be damned!
If you enjoy a good yarn with a blend of romance, political intrigue, and adventure, "The Taliban Cricket Club" should be your cup of tea.
- Ewart Rouse is the author of "Sticky Wicket," a series of four cricket novels.
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