15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Welcome to Afghanistan,
This review is from: Caravans (Mass Market Paperback)
The fictional first person account of a young American diplomat in 1940s Afghanistan, Caravans by James Michener weaves a compelling tapestry of adventure, history, and romance. Simultaneously the backdrop and main character, Afghanistan materializes before the reader's eyes with the turning of each page. The story revolves around Mark Miller, assigned to the U.S. embassy in Kabul, and his mission to discover what has happened to a young American woman in Afghanistan whose family has not heard from her in months.
The Afghan mosaic of culture and geography emerges through Michener's writing in one of his most enthusiastic works. Setting forth at an ambling pace, Caravans allows the richness of Afghanistan to permeate the story as the plot asserts itself. The middle portion of the book broadens both the story and the reader's understanding of this foreign land, while the plot accelerates toward the conclusion.
What Caravans leaves to be desired lies in the absence of an adequate treatment of the thousands of years of Afghan history preceding the 20th century. In addition, the conclusion's rapid onset jars the reader out of the book's lullaby rhythm. To be fair, however, doing justice to the entirety of Afghanistan's history would require multiple volumes, and the conclusion, while rapid, presents itself at the appropriate time.
For a reader seeking to understand more about Afghanistan in light of the events of September 11, 2001, Caravans is an especially palatable introduction the country. With no mention of the Taliban nor modern day terrorism, the book nonetheless convinces the reader of the severity of life in Afghanistan.