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Kabul: A Novel

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    Available in PDF - DJVU Format | Kabul: A Novel.pdf | Language: ENGLISH
    M. E. Hirsh(Author)

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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.

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 30Copyright 1985 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title. 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.Copyright 1986 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

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Book details

  • PDF | 464 pages
  • M. E. Hirsh(Author)
  • St. Martin's Griffin; 2 edition (June 1, 2002)
  • English
  • 8
  • Literature & Fiction

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Review Text

  • By Mary Reinert on April 23, 2013

    This is a story of Afghanistan from the time of it's peak as an international country until the Soviet invasion. This story is told through the eyes of one family. The father, an international diplomat, married an American woman. Three children are born, two sons and a daughter. As the country undergoes a coup, politics change as well as family dynamics as each child takes a different stance on what is happening. Add that to the undercurrent of Islamic fundamentalism and things become very complicated. "Very complicated" is a huge understatement.That complication is really what makes the book difficult at times. The author obviously is very familiar with the Afghan history and assumes too much from the reader. This is not an easy book to read. I do prefer books that will make me think and I feel that I have learned something, but sometimes to me, this one was overwhelming. I appreciate the effort, the seeming accuracy, and the details, but I will have to admit, I had to push myself to finish.While I don't have enough knowledge to debate the accuracy of the history of the times, I can comment on that fictional family that provides the story. At times, any one of them was believable and their motives seemed realistic. At other times, that too was a stretch. Tor's relationship with British Elizabeth in Moscow was perhaps the largest. The subplot of Elizabeth's smuggling documents out of Russia in a fur coat took pages and pages and didn't seem to add much to the story of Afghanistan.This is a sweeping view of that particular time in Afghan history, and it that regard it is interesting and informative. The reader just has to find his or her way through the tangle of personalities and cultures to see the whole picture.

  • By Ronald Scheer on June 5, 2006

    This terrific novel about Afghanistan in the 1970s makes "The Kite Runner" seem plodding and shallow. It is a family saga with its own "spoiled prince" character, full of political intrigue in the years leading up to the Soviet invasion, and its closing chapters involve not one but two daring rescue missions. The scope of this 440+ page novel is as far ranging and ambitious as Boris Pasternak's "Dr. Zhivago."The fortunes and fate of the well-to-do Anwari family are linked to the rise and fall of governments in Kabul, and the country itself is portrayed in the grip of revolutionary conflict and in an international context involving its neighbors, the US, and the USSR. Meanwhile, there are weddings, love affairs, sibling rivalries, conflicts between parents and children, babies born, illness and death, mixed loyalties, hopes, fears, disappointments, the entire gamut of the human drama.This intricately plotted novel weaves together a host of story threads and shifting points of view among characters that deepen their emotional and psychological reality. Dialogues between them are elegant and sharp witted as they jockey for advantage with each other while reaching at the same time for any feelings that would lessen their vulnerability. Don't let the burqas on the cover mislead you. The women in this novel are strong and independent, and their struggle to remain so represents the birth pangs of an ancient civilization on the verge of the modern age.Hirsch has written one heck of a novel, and it deserves an audience that yearns to know more about the country and the culture that for decades has continued to withstand the destructive forces of civil strife and international conflict.

  • By A customer on October 6, 2002

    By using vivid characterization and clever prose, Hirsh prompts readers to explore how world politics, family relationships, and individual duty are intertwined -- not only in the frame of the novel, but in their own lives, as well. The novel provides a fascinating perspective on Afghanistan, and illustrates the need for passive observers to cross the boundary separating basic knowledge of current events and deep understanding of the causes behind them.

  • By RKC on September 1, 2011

    Overall, this book helps you understand what the struggle really has been in Afghanistan. You have a much clearer understanding of why we helped Osama Bin Laden in the first place. We were fighting the cold war against Russia and Russia had taken over the country. If the author could have condensed the book a little. It was just a bit much to wade through and the story line was too complex for the writing.

  • By Red Rock Bookworm on November 7, 2007

    Filled with remarkable historical detail and compelling drama, Kabul is rife with intrigue and combines concentrated political insights with a dramatic look at one family, the Anwari's, as they are caught-up in an electrifying and potentially lethal state of affairs, following the 1973 overthrow of the last Afghan King.We are given a front row seat to the churning turmoil fermenting within the Anwari family as each of the three children, Mangal, Tor & Saira, pursues their individual political beliefs and destinies. The family Anwari could be seen as a metaphor for the country of Afghanistan itself, with its many diverse dissenting factions, each seeking to expand their power and bring about social and political change.The destiny of the family and their beloved country are enexorably joined as both battle to survive subjugation by Russian invaders who are attempting to turn Afghanistan and it's inhabitants into a Communist satellite and claim its riches for their own.This book manages to maintain the basics of historical accuracy while capturing the personalities and philosophies of its many characters, both real and imagined, and blends all of these elements so seamlessly that it is difficult to distinguish what is real and what is a figment of the authors imagination.With the tumult of the 70's that wreaked havoc on this country, one can understand how the Taliban could use this mismanaged mess to get a foothold in the Middle-East.


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