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: 30-year-old Nafisa, imprisoned to protect her from an honor killing; 25-year-old Latifa, who ran away from home with her teenage sister but now stays in the prison because it is safe shelter; and 19-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.
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Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
Customer ReviewsMost Helpful
By chrisa on 25-08-16
For the want of the right reader
Story lost integrity and impact because of reader. First, american accent of the reader caused book to lose its authenticity. Second , she read the story as if she was reading to children the fairy tale of the Three Little Pigs. Interesting subject matter, however,, it
8 of 9 people found this review helpful
By Courtney Ozgunay on 11-05-17
Intriguing topic/performer was wrong for the book
Is there anything you would change about this book?
This book tended to ramble more than her previous works. I found it hard to keep up with what was happening at times. The story would be on one topic and spiral with a character to something else entirely. It didn't move between plots as well as Nadia's other books.
If you’ve listened to books by Nadia Hashimi before, how does this one compare?
I love love loved the Pearl That Broke Its Shell. It was fantastic and I highly recommend it to anyone. I couldn't stop listening to it. I immediately listened to her other works, including the young adult accompaniment to Pearl. They were all good. This one however, while I expected to really enjoy wasn't as good. The story just sort of spun all over - plot lines seemed disconnected. I also thought the true identity of the Mullah was just too convenient. There were times in conversations that I couldn't tell who was talking (could have been the performance). Overall, while I am glad I read it and the topic is interesting, it just wasnt as good as Pearl or Moon.
Who would you have cast as narrator instead of Ariana Delawari and Susan Nezami ?
Possibly - I just don't think the main narrator was the right choice. Her voice sounded too young. It was the same narrator from the young adult book, so the whole time the voice associated with a teenager. She did not do the different characters well in unique tones or consistently; it was tough to know who was talking at times. A more mature voice, and one with an Afghan accent would have been better for this story. Or it could have been done with multiple narrators. She did well with One Half from the East; this was not a good match between story and narrator.
Atossa Leoni - who performed 'A Thousand Splendid Suns' did a fantastic job and would have been a good choice for this story. As would either of the 2 prior female narrators for the authors other books.
Do you think A House Without Windows needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?
It could - but rather than focus on Zeba, I would focus on Yusef and the other women imprisoned at the jail. I think there are many more stories there that could be told.
Any additional comments?
In past books, it would shift between characters very distinctly to give perspective/angles on the story. This one seemed more to ramble/spiral more and there were times when I couldn't tell what the point was of the context...what it was leading towards. The topic was interesting, but I was not as hooked on the story as much as in her past novels. The performance also impacted the enjoyment of this book unfortunately. I will definitely read further books from Nadia Hashimi - I love learning these stories from Afghanistan.
3 of 3 people found this review helpful