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The Pearl that Broke Its Shell

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The Pearl that Broke Its Shell

May 2014

While I read a lot, a book like THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL by Nadia Hashimi is one that will stay with me and also made me feel grateful for where I live. It opens in Kabul, Afghanistan, in 2007, where Rahima lives with her mother, sisters and opium-addicted father. The only way that she can leave the house is by adopting the bacha posh custom of dressing like a boy, which she can do until her body matures. In this way, she attends school and moves freely around their village. But eventually she must become a girl again. At that point, she and her two sisters are married off to give the family some much-needed money, as well as a pipeline to opium for their father. What happens to Rahima is not new to her family. A century before, her great-aunt Shekiba, who was orphaned, also adopted a disguise as a man to survive. Their stories are intertwined, and it makes for a very compelling read.

If you are thinking about THE KITE RUNNER and Khaled Hosseini’s other brilliant novels as you read this commentary, you are not wrong. This book is just as engaging and is great for book group discussion. For those who think that the territory and people of Afghanistan have been fully mined in fiction, THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL ensures there is more to be explored.

The Pearl that Broke Its Shell
by Nadia Hashimi

  • Publication Date: May 6, 2014
  • Genres: Fiction
  • Hardcover: 464 pages
  • Publisher: William Morrow
  • ISBN-10: 0062244752
  • ISBN-13: 9780062244758