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.
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.