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Review: A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi

Title: A House Without Windows
Author: Nadia Hashimi
Year Published: 2016

Genre: Adult fiction
Pages: 412
Rating: 4 out of 5

Location (my 2017 Google Reading map)Afghanistan

FTC Disclosure: I received this book from the publisher for a review as part of the TLC Tour.

Purchase Links

HarperCollins | Amazon | Barnes & Noble

Summary (from the inside flap of the book): For most of her life Zeba has lived quietly in an Afghan village, a loyal wife and loving mother. But on one horrific day, her family's world is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home. Covered in Kamal's blood and catatonic with shock, Zeba refuses to explain what happened. Barely escaping a vengeful mob, she is sent to Kabul's Chil Mahtab, a women's prison.

As Seba awaits trial, she befriends other women whose own misfortunes have led them to these bleak cells: Nafisa, imprisoned to protect her from an honor killing: Latifa, a runaway who stays in the jail because it is a safe haven; and Mezhgan, pregnant and unmarried, jailed for zina, or "love crimes." The women whisper among themselves: Is Zeba rally a cold-blooded killer? Has she truly inherited her mother's powers of jadu--witchcraft--which can bend fate to her will? Can she save herself? Or them?

Into this closed world comes Yusu, Zeba's Afghan-born American-raised lawyer, whose desire to help his homeland has 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.

About Nadia Hashimi

Nadia Hashimi was born and raised in New York and New Jersey. Both her parents were born in Afghanistan and left in the early 1970s, before the Soviet invasion. In 2002, Nadia made her first trip to Afghanistan with her parents. She is a pediatrician and lives with her family in the Washington, DC, suburbs.
Find out more about Nadia at her website, connect with her on Facebook, and follow her on Twitter.

Review: It's been a while since I've read a book set in a Afghanistan so I was excited when I saw this one on offer from TLC Tours. I'll confess that in the beginning I kept feeling like the book was set in India, I'm not sure why.

I really wanted to connect with Zeba, but didn't for a lot of the book. I empathized with her and her plight (unfulfilling life, mean husband, etc) and her situation (being in jail), but I didn't "like" her at first. That doesn't mean she isn't a good character, it just means that I wish I cared more about her. For some reason I connected more with her lawyer, Yusuf. Perhaps that's because he is an educated professional, but I don't think so because I have connected to many poor and uneducated characters in books before. However, by the end of the book I felt very invested in Zeba and the outcome of her case and her fate. I wanted her to get out of jail and spend the rest of her life with her children.

The setting and situations in the book seemed really accurate to me, which is strange for me to say since I've never been to Afghanistan. However, with an Afghani author and things she mentions in her acknowledgments, I think the cultural aspects were really true to life. That made the book feel rich and full and raw.

Challenges for which this counts:

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