A House Without Windows: A Novel

A House Without Windows: A Novel

by Nadia Hashimi


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A vivid, unforgettable story of an unlikely sisterhood—an emotionally powerful and haunting tale of friendship that illuminates the plight of women in a traditional culture—from the author of the bestselling The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and When the Moon Is Low.

For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home. Nearly catatonic with shock, Zeba is unable to account for her whereabouts at the time of his death. Her children swear their mother could not have committed such a heinous act. Kamal’s family is sure she did, and demands justice.

Barely escaping a vengeful mob, Zeba is arrested and jailed. As Zeba awaits trial, she meets a group of women whose own misfortunes have also led them to these bleak cells: thirty-year-old Nafisa, imprisoned to protect her from an honor killing; twenty-five-year-old Latifa, who ran away from home with her teenage sister but now stays in the prison because it is safe shelter; and nineteen-year-old Mezhgan, pregnant and unmarried, waiting for her lover’s family to ask for her hand in marriage. Is Zeba a cold-blooded killer, these young women wonder, or has she been imprisoned, as they have been, for breaking some social rule? For these women, the prison is both a haven and a punishment. Removed from the harsh and unforgiving world outside, they form a lively and indelible sisterhood.

Into this closed world comes Yusuf, Zeba’s Afghan-born, American-raised lawyer, whose commitment to human rights and desire to help his motherland have brought him back. With the fate of this seemingly ordinary housewife in his hands, Yusuf discovers that, like Afghanistan itself, his client may not be at all what he imagines.

A moving look at the lives of modern Afghan women, A House Without Windows is astonishing, frightening, and triumphant.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780062449658
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Publication date: 05/16/2017
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 432
Sales rank: 227,781
Product dimensions: 5.20(w) x 7.90(h) x 1.20(d)

About the Author

Nadia Hashimi was born and raised in New York and New Jersey. Both her parents were born in Afghanistan and left in the early 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. In 2002, Nadia made her first trip to Afghanistan with her parents. She is a pediatrician and lives with her family in the Washington, DC, suburbs. She is the author of three books for adults, as well as the middle grade novels One Half from the East and The Sky at Our Feet. Visit her online at www.nadiahashimi.com.

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A House Without Windows: A Novel 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 5 reviews.
gaele More than 1 year ago
Lyrical Prose with emotionally compelling stories combine to bring forth a story that is difficult to forget - a must read favorite. Part of feeding my own curiosity is reading stories about and by people who will bring a new perspective and outlook to my eyes. Modern day Afghanistan is one that westerners know as rife with terror, sublimated and subjugated women, and often barbaric retributions. What I had to keep reminding myself while reading this story was the juxtaposition between those who are raised in the culture and have a sense of the expectations with my own, and one of the MC’s outlook that is decidedly more western in approach. Having read and LOVED The Pearl that Broke it’s Shell, Nadia Hashimi presents her stories without shutters or blinders, each moment feeling as if you are present to witness the moments. In this story, we have Zeba in the midst of a crisis. Her husband of twenty years is found dead, the murder weapon nearby. Unable to process the moment and the shock to her system, she’s unable to provide her own alibi, even to the few willing to hear it. Her husband’s family is convinced she murdered him, and the quick rush to judgment of her guilt in a society that is quick to judge and punish women for any number of, to our eyes, minor offenses, is horrific. Enter Yusuf, an Afghani lawyer raised and educated in the US. His own determination to bring his homeland to a more modern outlook, particularly in regards to human rights for all, particularly women. He’s thinking that while not easy, defending Zeba will be reasonably easy once he explains himself and shows her another way. What emerges is a quiet revolution: Zeba is adopted into an unlikely sisterhood where the women, free from societal censure and retributions of the moment, are sharing stories, dreams and hopes. The stories are hard to read, and while outcomes are tragic, the apparent acquiescence of these women, accepting their lot in life is far less than expected. Zeba is far more than a simple country housewife, she’s a force with an inner core of strength that allows her to survive and persevere in some unthinkable conditions. Lyrical prose and compelling stories take the edge off a difficult read, one that required many breaks for some of the conditions and life stories are harsh, bordering on barbaric. But, even in the breaks, I couldn’t walk away or stop thinking about the moments, the integral connections to the tribal laws and fundamentalist beliefs that feel foreign, if not completely unknowable. A wonderful book, well worth your time and effort. I received an eArc copy of the title from the publisher for purpose of honest review. I was not compensated for this review: all conclusions are my own responsibility.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Read 2 years ago and it still intrigues me
EmmabBooks More than 1 year ago
Exciting murder story set in traditional Afghanistan Zeba's husband is found murdered, with Zeba sitting beside him covered in his blood. Why will Zeba say nothing about what happened? A tales of suspense set in Afghanistan. Yusuf, brought up in the US, wants to defend Zeba, but with her continued silence over her husband's death, struggles to build a defence. Meanwhile family lifestyles are explored, and the circumstances leading to the murder gradually become clear. As Zeba sits in prison, awaiting her trial, so other women's tales are heard, giving a fascinating insight into women's lives in a traditional culture in Afghanistan. 5*s for this fascinating, and gripping story. Captivating stories of lives so different to what I have known, alongside a fast moving and exciting story. This is the second book I have read by this author, the first being The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, and I loved that too. Highly recommended read.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Reading this story gave me a clearer understanding of how women in Afghanistan have had to go about their lives. This book has given me new empathy for their situation and yet I feel great hope for their future .
Two2dogs More than 1 year ago
I loved this story, I am always interested in other cultures around the World, we learn so much when we enjoy reading a good book, I've read Nadia Hashimi's other two books & loved them too.