Synopses & Reviews
From the author of the “bighearted...inspiring” (Vogue
) memoir Kabul Beauty School
comes a fiction debut as compelling as real life: the story of a remarkable coffee shop in the heart of Afghanistan, and the men and women who meet there — thrown together by circumstance, bonded by secrets, and united in an extraordinary friendship.
After hard luck and some bad choices, Sunny has finally found a place to call home — it just happens to be in the middle of a war zone. The thirty-eight-year-old American’s pride and joy is the Kabul Coffee House, where she brings hospitality to the expatriates, misfits, missionaries, and mercenaries who stroll through its doors. She’s especially grateful that the busy days allow her to forget Tommy, the love of her life, who left her in pursuit of money and adventure.
Working alongside Sunny is the maternal Halajan, who vividly recalls the days before the Taliban and now must hide a modern romance from her ultratraditional son — who, unbeknownst to her, is facing his own religious doubts. Into the café come Isabel, a British journalist on the trail of a risky story; Jack, who left his family back home in Michigan to earn “danger pay” as a consultant; and Candace, a wealthy and well-connected American whose desire to help threatens to cloud her judgment.
When Yazmina, a young Afghan from a remote village, is kidnapped and left on a city street pregnant and alone, Sunny welcomes her into the café and gives her a home — but Yazmina hides a secret that could put all their lives in jeopardy. As this group of men and women discover that there’s more to one another than meets the eye, they’ll form an unlikely friendship that will change not only their own lives but the lives of an entire country.
Brimming with Deborah Rodriguez’s remarkable gift for depicting the nuances of life in Kabul, and filled with vibrant characters that readers will truly care about, A Cup of Friendship is the best kind of fiction — full of heart yet smart and thought-provoking.
"Rodriguez follows bestselling memoir Kabul Beauty School with a superb debut novel centering on a group of women who come together in a Kabul coffee shop run by Sunny, a free-spirited American. Sunny takes in the young widow, Yazmina, the casualty of her uncle's debt to Afghan thugs, who had taken the girl as payment but dumped her on the side of the road when they discovered she was pregnant. Halajan is a firecracker older widow who hides her cropped hairdo, jean skirts, and love letters under her burqa. Isabel, a hard-hitting BBC journalist on location to expose the story of the destruction of the poppy fields, uncovers a deeper truth: female workers addicted to the opium they handle who are then, some with their babies, jailed for 'moral crimes.' Candace, a well-heeled Bostonian, has followed her Afghan boyfriend to Kabul to fund-raise for his school, but soon suspects his real motives for the school and their relationship. A craftsman and a storyteller, Rodriguez captures place and people wholeheartedly, unveiling the faces of Afghanistan's women through a wealth of memorable characters who light up the page. (Jan.)" Publishers Weekly (Copyright PWyxz LLC)
"Rodriguez paints a vivid picture of Afghan culture…as if Maeve Binchy had written The Kite Runner."Kirkus Reviews
"A superb debut novel…Rodriguez captures place and people wholeheartedly, unveiling the faces of Afghanistan's women through a wealth of memorable characters who light up the page." Publishers Weekly
"With a message…to protect and empower the women of Kabul, Rodriguez weaves her tale of life, death, and marriage…Readers will appreciate the in-depth, sensory descriptions of this oft-mentioned and faraway place that most have never seen." Booklist
"Rodriguez has a deft hand for detail and the accelerated emotion of the expat existence in war-torn Afghanistan....This first novel is engrossing. Fans of the author's best-selling memoir, Kabul Beauty School, should be looking for this one, and other readers will quickly discover it, especially those with an interest in current events in the Middle East or for lovers of cross-cultural tales." Library Journal
From the author of the New York Times bestseller Kabul Beauty School comes a fiction debut as compelling as real life: the story of a remarkable coffee shop in the heart of Kabul, and the women who meet there — each with a story and a secret.
About the Author
Deborah Rodriguez is a hairdresser, a motivational speaker, and the author of the bestselling memoir Kabul Beauty School. She spent five years teaching at and later directing the Kabul Beauty School, the first modern beauty academy and training salon in Afghanistan. Rodriguez also owned the Oasis Salon and the Cabul Coffee House. She currently lives in Mexico.