Author(s): Yasmina Khadra (tr from French John Cullen)
Moshen and his wife, Zunaira, met at the university and once looked forward to a happy and prosperous life together. But Moshem's dream of becoming a diplomat, halted by the war with Russia, dies with the ascendancy of the Taliban. Zunaira, formerly a lawyer who worked for women's rights, can no longer even appear on the streets of Kabul without a veil over her face. It is only in their own home that they can be themselves. One day, unable to resist Moshen's pleas, Zunaira dons her burqa and goes to market with him. The outing turns into a nightmare. Atiq, a veteran of the Russian war, is now a part-time jailer who watches over those condemned to death. The darkness of the prison and the wretchedness of his job have seeped into his soul. His home offers little respite from his rage and misery; his wife Musarrat, is suffering from an illness no doctor can cure and even the most furvent prayers cannot alleviate. As Atiq begins to lose all faith in his own ability to survive the arbitary demands and extreme cruelties of the Taliban, he is drawn to Zanaira, now in prison awaiting public execution.In a final act of defiance, Musarrat conceives a plan that will allow her husband to live and hope again... Already a best seller in France, "The Swallows of Kabul" brilliantly exposes the differences between religiosity and dangerous religious extremism. Written in spare, exquisite prose, it is an unforgettable portrait of life under a fascist theocracy. First published in French 2002; this translation 2004.
A powerful story about four Kabul civilians drawn together by their daily struggles in life under the Taliban.
Shortlisted for IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2006.
Yasmina Khadra is the nom de plume of the Algerian army officer, Mohammed Moulessehoul, who took a female pseudonym to avoid submitting his manuscripts for approval by the army. He is the author of four other books published in English, including the acclaimed bestseller Swallows of Kabul. He lives in France.