This brand spanking new novel, written by the author of THE KABUL BEAUTY SCHOOL, has a cover that just reaches out for you. The author is Deborah Rodriguez, and does she ever have stories to tell. Rodriguez lived in Kabul, Afghanistan, for years. Her first book is a memoir. This is fiction, but with plenty of real stuff to make it work.
At first, this novel seems like a story involving five women. Women who are thrown together through circumstance at a time when not that many people had even heard of this country they lived in. It begins before 9/11; way before. But, it isn’t long before I realized that this is much more than a tale about women. It’s about war, about friendship, about love. About forgiveness.
Sunny owns and operates a coffee shop in the center of Kabul. What a great hub for a group of characters to interact in. It’s a small place that she runs with the help of a handful of others.
In Afghanistan, women were and are still treated differently than they are here in America. They can not leave their homes without being covered from head to toe. They can’t leave their homes without the company of a male. To break any of the laws can mean death or imprisonment. The first time I heard this, I thought it was nonsense. Of course that was years ago now. I still find it hard to believe but I now know it is true. It fascinates me that this can happen in this day and age.
Sunny, Candace, Isabelle, Yazmina and Halajan have much in common even though three of them are not Afghans. They share the deepest secrets. They have the desire to make a better life for themselves and other women.
The men in this story are portrayed well. Rodriguez has shown us a side to the men that makes me smile. They go the gamut of age, ranging from early 20’s to around 60. We are given a very human picture here.
Since Rodriguez actually lived and worked in Kabul, her story rings so true. Her research is for real. Her characters are actually taken from real people she knew in Kabul. I love this.
I feel much more in tune with what’s going on in Afghanistan after reading this novel. And I will say that not all writers are capable of doing such a great job with both fiction and non-fiction. kudos to you, Deborah Rodriguez. I would love to read more.
For those of you who read my column in The Naples Daily News, please note that THE PARIS WIFE does not pub until Feb.22. Editor got very excited and jumped the gun. Can preorder it now.