- Hardcover: 368 pages
- Publisher: Riverhead Books; F First Edition edition (June 2, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1594487960
- ISBN-13: 978-1594487965
- Product Dimensions: 6.2 x 1.2 x 9.8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 53 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,443,141 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Farishta Hardcover – June 2, 2011
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About the Author
Patricia McArdle is a retired American diplomat. During her career, she was posted around the world, including northern Afghanistan.
Top customer reviews
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So many scenes and ideas in Farishta have come back to me since reading the book, especially with Afghanistan a continuing issue in the news. I wonder how Afghanistan will re-set when the American presence is lessened, and whether a decade of freedom from Taliban rule will have a lasting influence on politics and culture. The book makes me wonder what will become of the Western-style infrastructure "improvements" that can not be sustained, and whether appropriate technologies (such as solar cooking, which Farishta advances) will ever be formally advocated in foreign aid programs to Afghanistan and other countries that have chopped down and consumed everything that will burn. I didn't really think about these problems until I read the book. And I like anything that gets my brain working like this.
She finds herself the only woman posted to a British Army outpost in Mazar-i-Sharif. One of the interpreters is suspect and she has to keep her skill in Dari a dark secret until she can find out who is undermining the allied efforts of reconstruction.
This book is fascinating because of its inside knowledge of how the US State Department works. It also advocates sustainable development. Noting that the countryside has been denuded of trees and that the children are sent to find fuel for the cooking fires, the author remembered making a solar oven in her Girl Scouting days. This novel tells the true story of how she introduced this concept to the Afghans as a means of making a real improvement in their lives.
In this respect, FARISHTA resembles THE UGLY AMERICAN, a 1958 attack on American policies in Southeast Asia. It's so sad that so little has been learned since then and that so much money has been wasted on "reconstruction" that will not long survive the American presence in Afghanistan.
The author has a dual purpose for this book. She wants to make her point about policy in Afghanistan but she also wants to tell an affecting story about a woman in a foreign land, facing and fighting her personal demons. I think she makes her point well and the story of Angela gripped me. Some elements of romance were predictable, but that's only a small complaint in an otherwise excellent novel. Should be required reading for the movers and shakers. Highly recommended!
I understand the author has written a screenplay of this book. It would make a superb movie!
Patricia is willing to meet with other book clubs by Skype, phone, or in person if you're close to her geographically, and our book club highly recommends that others pursue this option. Beyond the book itself, we were impressed to learn that she continues to live out her passion for solar ovens, serving on the board of Solar Cookers International and traveling around the world to educate others about solar cooking. In addition, she is an advocate for straw bale building and other ways of building affordable and environmentally friendly housing.
Our group enjoyed reading and discussing the book and is hoping that it won't be too long before Patricia writes a second book!
Most recent customer reviews
I really enjoyed this book, not knowing exactly what kind of story it would tell.Read more