by Qais Akbar Omar - £8.99 Pan Macmillan (Picador) (2014)
paperback ISBN 13: 9781447221753 | ISBN 10: 1447221753
With all the emotional power of The Kite Runner, this is the very first true life account of growing up in Afghanistan, by a writer who still lives in Kabul.
Qais Akbar Omar’s young life coincided with one of the most convulsive decades in Afghan history: invasion and civil war, the rise of the Taliban, and the arrival of international troops in 2001. A Fort of Nine Towers, named for the place his parents first sought shelter from war, is Qais’s memoir about his family and their remarkable survival. When the fighting came, this group of tenacious and deeply loving people was buffeted from one part of Afghanistan to the next, ‘like kittens in the jaws of a lion’. They set up camp on the plains, in the Buddha caves of Bamiyan, and later with Kuchi nomads, before they were finally able to return to Kabul – where in many senses their trials were just beginning.
As he shares this long journey, through terror, loss, heartbreak, and sudden moments of joy, Qais’s spirit never ceases to shine. This is an extraordinary book about a beautiful and civilized country ravaged by war, and about the power of stories to embolden, console, and bind a family together, in the face of almost unimaginable odds.
(Price & availability last checked: December 2019)