Writing under the nom de plume of Yasmina Khadra, Mohammed Moulessehoul weaves a fictional story of a time and place that is all to real. Through the dusty roads of Kabul under the Taliban, the story that unfolds is that of two different couples whose lives are set to collide in an interwoven tale of love, faith and madness.
Mohsen and Zunaria are debris from a forgotten educated middle class whose lives are disheartened by a joyless Kabul and haunted only by the memory of its once glorious past. Atiq is a crude jailer who fought in the Russian-Afghan war; now tormented by his home life under the sway of his dying wife. All four lives are held captive by the force of the Taliban, imprisoning them within their homes where their troubles echo infinitely between the concrete walls; contained by the maddening crowd.
Moulessehoul’s eloquent prose imparts a vivid description of a city drenched in fear where even the swallows of Kabul, the harbingers of hope are scarce monuments. This is the telling of a story where the characters are constantly attempting to escape their destinies only to return to a brutal reality and forced to face Kabul; a city synonymous with misery.
This book comes on the “coat tails” of The Kite Runner so to speak, but is equally facinating in the way it describes a regime that passes off terror under the veneer of religion. It’s also suprisingly short.