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The Storyteller's Daughterby Saira Shah
Synopses & Reviews
The vivid, often startling memoir of a young woman shaped by two dramatically disparate worlds. Saira Shah is the English-born daughter of an Afghan aristocrat, inspired by his dazzling stories to rediscover the now lost life their forebears presided over for nine hundred years within sight of the minarets and lush gardens of Kabul and the snow-topped mountains of the Hindu Kush. Part sophisticated, sensitive Western liberal, part fearless, passionate Afghan, falling in love with her ancestral myth–chasing Afghanistan–Shah becomes, at twenty-one, a correspondent at the front of the war between the Soviets and the Afghan resistance. Then, imprisoning herself in a burqa, she risks her life to film Beneath the Veil, her acclaimed record of the devastation of women’s lives by the Taliban. Discovering her extended family, discovering a world of intense family ritual, of community, of male primacy, of arranged marriages, and finding at last the now war-ravaged family seat, she discovers as well what she wants and what she rejects of her extraordinary heritage.
"Adventure-filled account of an intrepid young British-Afghan woman?s search for cultural identity.... A powerful memoir and an unforgettable portrait of a land and a people." Kirkus Reviews
"Most compelling are the characters she encounters and their indomitable spirit." Publishers Weekly
"In this very personal inside-outside account, Shah is our eye on a culture and set of conditions that are much more complex than what we see on the nightly news." Booklist
"Brilliant and moving, hers is a book that can make uncomfortable reading for Westerners whose countries have periodically dabbled in the region, but only when it has suited them and for their own benefit." The New York Times
The freelance journalist who filmed Beneath the Veil offers a startling memoir of how her life was shaped by two dramatically disparate worlds. This is Saira, part sophisticated and sensitive Western liberal, part fearless, life-gulping Afghan, falling in love with her ancestral myth, chasing Afghanistan.
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