This book gives a fascinating and detailed look into the lives of women in Kabul - during the modern era and also a century past. It starts with Rahima, who has only recently been allowed to attend school due to changes in government policy. But that doesn't last as there as so many obstacles to being a female in public.. and the female is always to blame.
Then there is Shekiba, who was scarred in a kitchen accident as a young child and can find no marriage. When her father dies, she's left alone in the world and soon finds that being a man has many more advantages for her.
The novel flits back and forth between both stories, each filled with trauma, anguish, fear.... and hope. These women do not ever lead an easy life. You remain on the edge of your seat wondering what will befall them next... and if they will survive it.
I recommend this book.
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
ISBN 10: 0062244752
Imprint: William Morrow
On Sale: 05/06/2014
About the BookAfghan-American Nadia Hashimi's literary debut novel is a searing tale of powerlessness, fate, and the freedom to control one's own fate that combines the cultural flavor and emotional resonance of the works of Khaled Hosseini, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Lisa See.
In Kabul, 2007, with a drug-addicted father and no brothers, Rahima and her sisters can only sporadically attend school, and can rarely leave the house. Their only hope lies in the ancient custom of bacha posh, which allows young Rahima to dress and be treated as a boy until she is of marriageable age. As a son, she can attend school, go to the market, and chaperone her older sisters.
But Rahima is not the first in her family to adopt this unusual custom. A century earlier, her great-great grandmother, Shekiba, left orphaned by an epidemic, saved herself and built a new life the same way.
Crisscrossing in time, The Pearl the Broke Its Shell interweaves the tales of these two women separated by a century who share similar destinies. But what will happen once Rahima is of marriageable age? Will Shekiba always live as a man? And if Rahima cannot adapt to life as a bride, how will she survive?