With her debut novel, Nadia
Hashimi takes us to Kabul where women were child brides to men thrice their
age, were rarely the first or only wives and were treated depending on the
number of sons they gave birth to.
Rahima is the 3rd of 5 sisters. Of a father who fights
for a warlord, when he isn’t delirious on a drug high, and a mother who lives
in the perpetual guilt of having given birth to 5 daughters and under her
mother-in-laws constant threat of getting her husband remarried.
The lack of a male child
forces her mother to covert Rahima into a ‘Bacha Posh’, a custom where a
daughter is dressed and allowed to live like a son, till she attains puberty. Treated
as a male Rahima, who is now Rahim, tastes freedom and realizes she likes it
even as she notices the lack of it given to her own kind.
Though the story telling of
her feisty aunt Rahima discovers that she
isn’t the only Bacha Posh in the family and her great-great-grandmother,
Shekiba was the first. From here starts Rahimas fascination for Shekiba, women
who lived 100 years apart.
A foolish mistake on Rahim’s
part leads to her angering her father, who marries off three of his daughters
at one go, and Rahim is back to being Rahima, and the fourth wife of the
warlord her father works for.
From here on starts 13 year
old Rahima’s struggle. Her life drawing parallels to Shekiba’s life, the story
she seeks inspiration from and which becomes her strength.
A simply written book that
shows us that a society is oppressive
because women make other women miserable and it is only women who can make
things better for their kind.
Read it to gain inspiration
from women who do not let society or their ‘naseeb’(destiny) dictate to them.
Read it for the strength of will, even though the body is weak. For that tiny
glimmer of hope and heaps of courage that keep these women going despite all the
atrocities committed on them.
Read it to realize that
Khaled Hosseini has set a trend for Afghan writers to bare the scars of their
battle torn country they are all so proud of.
Labels: #BookReview, Afghan, Book, Book Review, Khaled Hosseini, Review, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell