A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story

A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story

by Qais Akbar Omar
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Overview

A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story by Qais Akbar Omar

A young Afghan man’s searing and redemptive memoir of his family and country

Twenty-one years ago, Kabul was a garden where seven-year-old Qais Akbar Omar flew kites from his grandfather’s roof. Then civil war exploded as Mujahedin factions fought one another to control Afghanistan.

With rockets falling around them, Omar’s family fled to an old fort on the far side of Kabul, leaving everything behind. On their first trip home, Omar and his father were kidnapped and forced into slave labor for weeks, returning to find their family hosting their funeral.

The family decided to flee Afghanistan. On the perilous journey to the border, they camped for a time in caves behind the Buddha statues in Bamyan and later took refuge with nomad cousins. While his father desperately sought smugglers to take them over the border, Omar met a deaf-mute carpet weaver who would change his life.

Later, as the Mujahedin war devolved into Taliban madness, Omar learned about quiet resistance. He survived imprisonment and, at eighteen, opened a secret carpet factory to provide work for girls who were forbidden to go to school or even leave their homes. As the girls tied knots at their looms, Omar’s parents taught them literature and science.

In this stunning coming-of-age memoir, Omar recounts hardships and narrow escapes, as well as moments of intense joy and beauty. It reveals the truth about life in a country whose history has become deeply entwined with our own but has, until now, eluded our understanding. Inflected with folktales, steeped in poetry, A Fort of Nine Towers is a life-affirming triumph.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780374157647
Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
Publication date: 04/16/2013
Pages: 416
Product dimensions: 6.50(w) x 9.12(h) x 1.38(d)

About the Author

Qais Akbar Omar is a carpet designer and the manager of a fourth-generation carpet business in Kabul. He has been a visiting scholar at the University of Colorado and is currently a student in the MBA program at Brandeis University.

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A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story 4.3 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 16 reviews.
Marzia0 More than 1 year ago
A Fort of Nine Towers was one of the best books I have ever read. I was born and raised in Herat Afghanistan. Herat city didn’t damage during Mujahedin’s faction fights, but we had some neighbors who escaped from Kabul and shared similar stories with us. This book makes you think, laugh and cry. Qais Omar Akbar’s story is a story of millions of Afghans. Besides disclosing the crimes and cruelty of Mujahedin and the Taliban, Qais shows a beautiful side of Afghanistan too. The family love, the hospitable people who help each other to survive the war and the beautiful landscapes and nature warms the reader’s heart. This book will stay in my mind forever!
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
I never really understood the wars in Afghanistan: the numerous factions, who was fighting whom, and the continuous waves that washed across the country. Not to mention how people lived and survived through it all. This book takes you on a years-long journey and leaves you well informed. I've read three other books on Afghanistan that were individual stories, and even though this book is about one individual family, it paints a much broader picture.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Even if this were fiction, the violence and cruelty would be very disturbing. I cannot imagine the impact on a small child.
AuntDoll More than 1 year ago
Wonderfully written book about a family's struggle to survive the hardships of war and things beyond their control. A good look inside Afghanastan through a young man's memories ,
lorrieLR More than 1 year ago
This is a wonderful book. The kind you don't want to put down.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Enjoyed the book so very much and would recommend it. So nice to read about that part of the world from a native son who lived through many tough times but experienced so much with many different countrymen and had many enjoyable experiences as well.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
It is an important story. Follow a young boy and his family's journey through Taliban Afghanistan. Most civilized people have an inkling of the horrors that went on but now we are told firsthand. The story is in large about survival, living in fear snd terror. There is explict horror. We find some relief in encounters with various people, tribes and their customs. Living inside the large Buddhas that were later destroyed proves interesting. Parts of the story doesn't quite settle. Given these facts it is a bit puzzeling why one would want to stay in Afghanistan? The story serves as a reminder of what could be.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Truly a great read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
This book will take you on an emotional roller coaster.
book-a-holicGK More than 1 year ago
This is the book to read if you want to know what is going on in Afghanistan and especially what happened during the civil wars there and what life was like living under the Taliban.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
CarolineT More than 1 year ago
An absolutely fascinating read.  Gripping from the very first page.  Purchase this book and read it; you will not be disappointed!!