Synopses & Reviews
"Wahab's father welcomed her into the world with fanfare typically accorded the birth of a son gunshots into the Afghan sky. Though his friends chastised him for celebrating a daughter in such a way, Wahab's father insisted his daughter would 'do more for her people than one hundred sons combined.' Three years later, in 1979, he was captured by the KGB for speaking out against Soviet involvement in Afghanistan. He never returned. After being shuffled to the care of her progressive grandfather, Wahab eventually wound up with her uncle in Portland, Oreg. Though she completed high school in only three years, Wahab could no longer abide her uncle's strict enforcement of Pashtun gender-biased codes of conduct, so she moved out. After college, determined to live up to her father's hopes, Wahab became an interpreter for American forces in Afghanistan. As one of the military's few speakers of Pashtu a complex and heavily-coded language Wahab became a spokesperson for her culture, educating her colleagues and helping them to establish relationships with her fellow Pashtun people. In vibrant but understated prose, Wahab vividly portrays a misunderstood culture, as well as the tense life on military bases where everyone must wear body armor and carry a weapon. While fighting to build a bridge of understanding between her 'native and adoptive nations,' Wahab admirably wages a more universal war for gender equality, human rights, and peace. (Apr.)" Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
About the Author
SAIMA WAHAB was born in Afghanistan, went to Pakistan as a refugee, and moved to the United States as a teenager. Since then she has become one of the only Pashtun female translators in the world, and—among other consequent roles—has returned to Afghanistan several times to work as a cultural adviser with the U.S. Army. She lives in Washington, D.C.