Kabul / Edition 2

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Modern events sometime demand the reissue of a book published several years ago. Hirsh's internationally acclaimed 1986 novel, Kabul, provides an almost miraculous window into a country and its people that now have captured the world's attention.

When the last Afghan king is deposed in the summer of 1973, the family of Omar Anwari, his loyal cabinet minister, is torn apart along with their country. Over seven turbulent years while Catherine, their American mother, struggles to hold them together, Mangal, the eldest son, breaks with his father to follow his own political conscience; daughter Saira in New York is torn between two cultures; and Tor, the youngest, most passionate of the three grows up to become perhaps the bravest of them all.

An epic tale of civil war, political intrigue, and family tragedy, Kabul is a moving, insightful portrayal of a proud nation brought to chaos.

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Editorial Reviews

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
At Mangal Anwari's lavish wedding, his bride wears a heavily embroidered dress and a thin veil that barely conceals the scars she earned as an outspoken dissident during the turbulence of the early 1970s in Afghanistan. One night later, her new husband joins in a plan to depose the king, gaining a questionable position of power in the new military government. At Mangal's insistence, his younger sister Saira departs for New York just hours before the coup, while their petulant young brother Tor is sent to Moscow University, where he buries his resentment by helping to expand an already black market. Five years later, after Mangal is lost during another uprising and the threat of Soviet domination begins to loom large over Afghanistan, Tor returns to Kabul's treacherous streets to rescue his parents and make contact with the rebel camp, while Saira foolishly shares secrets with her Russian lover, shattering the lives of her family by helping the Soviets strike at the heart of the resistance. First novelist Hirsh has turned in a gratifying and vibrant description of a family and a country torn by political strife. January 30
Library Journal
In 1973 the prominent Anwari family gathers in their Kabul home to celebrate the marriage of eldest son Mangal to Roshana, a social and political reformer. In one day the family's fortunes change. Patriarch Omar resigns as Cabinet Minister to King Zahir. Mangal helps Prince Daoud in his coup setting up the first Afghan republic. Daughter Saira's clandestine love affair is discovered; her banishment to New York City and her disastrous relationship with the ambitious Russian Andrei are the results. Tor, the youngest and hardest to control, is sent in disgrace to Moscow where he becomes a black market dealer. Intrigue and political machinations abound, ending with the 1979 Soviet invasion and the family's near-annihilation. Although none of the locales rings true, bold characterization, sweeping action, strong plotting, and solid writing make this a first novel worth reading. Jo Ann Vicarel, Cleveland Heights-University Heights P.L.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780312301736
  • Publisher: St. Martin's Press
  • Publication date: 6/28/2002
  • Edition description: Second Edition
  • Edition number: 2
  • Pages: 464
  • Sales rank: 1,260,504
  • Product dimensions: 6.00 (w) x 9.00 (h) x 1.02 (d)

Meet the Author

M. E. Hirsh has written for the Boston Globe, the Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times on subjects ranging from Afghanistan to Native American affairs. She is the author of Dreaming Back, a novel, and is currently at work on two others.

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Customer Reviews

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 17, 2002

    Spellbinding- a timely window on an exotic country

    'Kabul'is a great read on several levels. I read this book when it originally came out in hardcover back in 1986 and then again recently. In the eighties, at the time of the Soviet invasion of Afghanistan, I found it to be a great story with compelling characters and a window on an exotic country that I knew absolutely nothing about. Now, in 2001, I have reread it and absorbed far more about the tumultuous and confusing political situation that brought Afghanistan into the situation in which we see it today. 'Kabul' features the half-American family of a minister to former King Zahir Shah. The eldest son is a journalist later turned rebel leader. The daughter of the family is American educated. We see her life in the the U.S., tormented by political and familial loyalties and contrasted against the lives of her women friends back home. The youngest son is educated in Moscow and we see him evolve from a spoiled rich kid into a passionate and patriotic man. Issues of tribal loyalties and boundary disputes that I am reading about in the news every day are much more understandable to me after reading this book. I literally made a check list of the many conflicts Hirsh dramatizes so effectively in fiction that are now playing out on the world stage.

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