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The Pearl That Broke Its Shell: A Novel Paperback – January 6, 2015
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*Starred Review* Hashimi’s first novel tells the story of two young Afghan women, separated by a century, who disguise themselves as boys in order to survive. In 2007, nine-year-old Rahima, the middle child among five daughters, becomes a bacha posh, a girl who dresses as a boy so that she can run to the market and escort her sisters when they leave the house. Rahima enjoys incredible freedoms as a boy, from attending school to roughhousing with children her age, but it all comes to an abrupt end when Abdul Khaliq, a vicious warlord, decides he wants her for his wife. Only 13 when she’s forced to marry Abdul Khaliq, Rahima draws her strength from her aunt’s tales of her ancestor Shekiba, who as a young girl was scarred by kitchen oil and was reviled by her extended family after the death of her parents and siblings. Shekiba eventually found unlikely refuge in the king’s palace in Kabul, dressing as a man to guard the king’s harem. Alternating between Rahima and Shekiba’s stories, Hashimi weaves together two equally engrossing stories in her epic, spellbinding debut. --Kristine Huntley --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
“Nadia Hashimi has written, first and foremost, a tender and beautiful family story. Her always engaging multigenerational tale is a portrait of Afghanistan in all of its perplexing, enigmatic glory, and a mirror into the still ongoing struggles of Afghan women.” (Khaled Hosseini, author of And the Mountains Echoed and The Kite Runner)
“A fascinating look at the unspoken lives of Afghani women, separated by generations and miles, yet achingly similar. This is a story to transport you and make you think.” (Shilpi Somaya Gowda, New York Times bestselling author of Secret Daughter)
“Hashimi weaves together two equally engrossing stories in her epic, spellbinding debut.” (Booklist (starred review))
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This book deals with the lives of women in Afghanistan in the early 20th century and early 21st century. Rahima whose story started in the early 2000s was actually the great great granddaughter of the Shekiba. One of Rahima's aunts tells her about Shekiba. The book shows many similarities between their lives. Some chapters are told by Rahima in the first person. Others are told in the third person about Shekiba.
The book deals gender inequalities between males and females and violence against women in the two time periods. Although Russians, Taliban, Americans and Europeans are mentioned, the book primarily involves the traditional Afghan culture. It is a rather dark book and has a lot of violence against women by both men and women. In the end, I found it a worthwhile book, but if violence bothers you, you may not want to read this book.
Most recent customer reviews
Depressing though. Breaks my heart that treatment like they endured is still going on in this day.