Customer Reviews for

Born Under a Million Shadows

Average Rating 4.5
( 11 )
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  • Posted September 18, 2011

    highly reccomended

    I grabbed this as a pleasure read, which is odd for me because i don't usually read just for funsies. anyway, it was a really good book. I love the style that it is written. It really draws you into the story. I also was greatly fascinated by the culture, and learned so much. It's nice to be able to get a different perspective of the things going on in the Middle East. Only negative comment I have to say is that the ending all happended really fast and I wasn't 100% satisfied with the ending.
    -Highly reccomended!

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  • Posted September 1, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Beautifully reveals Afghanistan to the Western world...

    Fawad is a charming boy. Smart, good-humored, brave and strong, you find yourself praying that life goes well for him. I mean, things are stacked against him, and you really want him to find a way to have everything he dreams of. This book portrays the complex and dark beauty of Afghanistan's face, as well as its dark underbelly. At times you find yourself in awe at the kindness of the people, the love they have for their country, their humor and passion. At other times you cringe at the cruelty, the blatant disregard for humanity, the ugly complexity of their hierarchical and tribal society and its tenuous relationship with surrounding countries, primarily Pakistan. This is a country that has spent much of its existence "occupied", under the rule of some governing power that is unwanted. There is such a dichotomy in the rich tapestry of Afghanistan. I just can't get over the complexity found in its simplicity. Or is it simplicity in its complexity? My mind is shaky with exhaustion in trying to wrap itself around it. This story has a wealth of wonderful characters, from housemates Georgie, James and May, streetmates Spandi and Jamilla, the dark and tormented beauty of Haji Khan (who himself could represent for me the country of Afghanistan), the hope of Shir Ahmad, the quirky and endearing character of Pir Hederi, and even Pir the Madman. In the end, I'm left with hope. Hope for Fawad and the realization of his dreams, hope for Jamilla and her happiness and freedom from the tyranny of men, hope for impossible romance, hope for compassion amidst such cruelty and beauty amid such horror-- hope for Afghanistan. Andrea Busfield-- I think I'm in love with you...

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  • Posted May 14, 2010


    In 21st century Afghanistan, war has shaped much of life for several generations. After the Afghans were finally liberated from Russian occupation in 1989, the power vacuum was filled by rival warlords, and the country was consumed by civil war. Then the rise of the Taliban finally brought peace, but at a terrible price.

    Fawad, the perceptive, funny eleven-year-old narrator of Born Under a Hundred Shadows, sees the Taliban fall in 2001. Fawad and his mother have lost most of their family and rely on the charity of relatives. His father and brother were killed, and his sister was abducted by Taliban forces and never seen again. Along with his friends and cousins, Fawad tries to earn or beg for money, on the streets of Kabul, to help them survive.

    Then Fawad's mother, Mariya, finds a housekeeping position with a group of foreigners. They go to live with her employers, including Georgie, a British aid worker, and May, an engineer from America, who are helping with the gradual process of rebuilding Afghanistan. Their household also includes, James, a British journalist. The lifestyles and values of their housemates are very different from the strict Muslim way Fawad and his mother have always lived. James is in inveterate drinker and fancies himself a bit of a ladies' man. May is a lesbian, and Georgie is involved with the powerful Afghan warlord Haji Khan, a dangerous man who may be involved in the opiate trade. Despite their differences, bonds of affection quickly grow, and Fawad, Mariya, and their English-speaking housemates form a colorful, unusual sort of family.

    British journalist Andrea Busfield has lived and worked in Afghanistan, and her passion for this beautiful, war-torn country illuminates Born Under a Million Shadows. She vividly paints the streets of Kabul and the mountainous countryside, and reading this novel, I absorbed some of her love and understanding of the Afghan culture.

    While this book deals with grim subjects, it is not a sad book. It doesn't shy away from the suffering woven throughout the story, but it doesn't sink into despair, either. Death and violence are part of daily life in Kabul, so people just carry on, striving to survive, looking out for friends and relatives, offering hospitality to guests, celebrating holidays, and falling in love. What really stands out in this book - aside from the strong sense of time and place - is the vibrant cast of characters, the connections among them, and the humor that flows throughout the story. I think this book will appeal to a wide range of fiction lovers, particularly those who enjoy delving into other places and cultures.

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  • Posted March 12, 2010

    I Also Recommend:

    A lovely, heart-warming novel

    This book is beautiful and the characters inside of it are even more than that. The main character, precious Fawad, is a young boy that I would take in as my own. He's beautiful. The characters around him are like a family and I didn't want to let them go. There are few books that I take with me but Born Under a Million Shadows will stay warm in my heart forever. This book embodies everything that we all hope for, cry for and love, while at the same time giving a new perspective on a war-torn country whose beauty is often buried under stories of horror. The reader is taken into a world of a culture so wrapped in familial values and love. It is a chance for Afganistan and Islam to show their good as they have unfairly been cheated of that opportunity. Let this book take you away into its pages; it has so much to offer.

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    Posted May 5, 2010

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    Posted August 26, 2010

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