Synopses & Reviews
Afghan-American journalist Fariba Nawa delivers a revealing and deeply personal explorationof Afghanistan and the drug trade which rules the country, from corruptofficials to warlords and child brides and beyond. KhaledHosseini, author of The Kite Runner and AThousand Splendid Suns calls Opium Nation “an insightful andinformative look at the global challenge of Afghan drug trade. Fariba Nawa weaves her personalstory of reconnecting with her homeland after 9/11 with a very engagingnarrative that chronicles Afghanistans dangerous descent into opiumtrafficking…and most revealingly, how the drug trade has damaged the lives ofordinary Afghan people.” Readers of Gayle Lemmon TzemachsThe Dressmaker of Khair Khanaand Rory Stewarts The Places Between will find Nawaspersonal, piercing, journalistic tale to be an indispensable addition to thecultural criticism covering this dire global crisis.
"In this powerful and occasionally tragic account, journalist Nawa returns to Afghanistan, which she fled at the age of nine to escape the Soviet occupation. She spends several years traveling the country to interview Afghans involved in the opium trade, 'an all-encompassing market that directly affects the daily lives of Afghans in a way that nothing else does.' Tied to Nawa's journey is a quest to strengthen her Afghan identity and reconcile it with her American self. Although comforted by her ability to 'change nationalities, hiding one and bringing forth another,' she doesn't feel like she belongs fully to either culture. Nawa draws rich, complex portraits of subjects on both sides of the law, people like Farzana and Nanzaneen, a pair of women training to become drug enforcement agents; Mr. Jawan, a kindly former drug smuggler; and Parween, a female poppy farmer whose crops were destroyed by soldiers because she failed to pay off the right people. A chance meeting with Darya, a 12-year-old girl sold into marriage in order to settle her father's opium debt, propels the book toward its climax: a search for the girl in one of Afghanistan's most dangerous regions. Nawa's work is remarkable for its depth, honesty, and commitment to recording women's stories, even when it means putting her own safety at risk. She writes with passion about the history of her volatile homeland and with cautious optimism about its future." Publishers Weekly Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved.
“Opium Nation brings much needed depth and complexity to any conversation involving Afghanistan and its future. Fariba Nawa writes with the detailed eye of a journalist, the warmth of a proud Afghan and the nuanced perspective of someone effortlessly straddling the East and the West.” Firoozeh Dumas, author of < i=""> Laughing Without an Accent <> and < i=""> Funny in Farsi <>
“Insightful and informative. . . . Fariba Nawa weaves her personal story of reconnecting with her homeland after 9/11 with a very engaging narrative that chronicles Afghanistans dangerous descent into opium trafficking . . . [and] how the drug trade has damaged the lives of ordinary Afghan people.” Khaled Hosseini, author of < i=""> The Kite Runner <> and < i=""> A Thousand Splendid Suns <>
“Powerful. . . . Nawa draws rich, complex portraits of subjects on both sides of the law . . . Nawas work is remarkable for its depth, honesty, and commitment to recording womens stories, even when it means putting her own safety at risk. She writes with passion about the history of her volatile homeland and with cautious optimism about its future.” < i=""> Publishers Weekly <>
“Journalists, policy makers, and scholars have written on the Afghan drug trade, but no one has shown its human drama and toll like Fariba Nawa. [She] offers a unique view of the human side of this conflict in which we are so deeply engaged.” Barnett R. Rubin, author of < i=""> The Fragmentation of Afghanistan <>
“Nawa ably captures the tragic complexity of Afghan society and the sheer difficulty of life there. . . . Her assured narrative clearly stems from in-depth reporting in a risk-laden environment.” < i=""> Kirkus Reviews <>
“Nawa deftly sketches the geopolitical nightmare that is todays Afghanistan, but the books real strength is her detailed, sensitive reporting of individual peoples stories.” < i=""> Boston Globe <>
When veteran reporter Fariba Nawa returned home to Afghanistan—the nation she had fled as a child with her family during the Soviet invasion nearly twenty years earlier—she discovered a fractured country transformed by a multibillion-dollar drug trade. In Opium Nation, Nawa deftly illuminates the changes that have overtaken Afghanistan after decades of unbroken war. Sharing remarkable stories of poppy farmers, corrupt officials, expats, drug lords, and addicts, including her haunting encounter with a twelve-year-old child bride who was bartered to pay off her fathers opium debts, Nawa offers a revealing and provocative narrative of a homecoming more difficult than she ever imagined as she courageously explores her own Afghan American identity and unveils a startling portrait of a land in turmoil.
About the Author
Fariba Nawa has written for the San Francisco Chronicle, the Christian Science Monitor, Mother Jones, The Sunday Times Magazine (London), Newsday, and the Village Voice. She has been a guest on CBSs 48 Hours as well as numerous other television and radio shows on NPR, the BBC, MTV, and NBC. She lives in the San Francisco Bay Area with her husband and two daughters.