Title: When The Moon Is Low
Author: Nadia Hashimi
Date finished: 9/20/15
Publisher: William Morrow
Publication Date: July 21, 2015
Pages in book: 380
Stand alone or series: Stand alone
Where I got the book from: BookBrowse NOTE: I received this book for free from BookBrowse in exchange for an honest review. This in no way affected my opinion of the book, or the content of my review.
Blurb from the cover:
Mahmoud’s passion for his wife Fereiba, a schoolteacher, is greater than any love she’s ever known. But their happy, middle-class world—a life of education, work, and comfort—implodes when their country is engulfed in war, and the Taliban rises to power.
Mahmoud, a civil engineer, becomes a target of the new fundamentalist regime and is murdered. Forced to flee Kabul with her three children, Fereiba has one hope to survive: she must find a way to cross Europe and reach her sister’s family in England. With forged papers and help from kind strangers they meet along the way, Fereiba make a dangerous crossing into Iran under cover of darkness. Exhausted and brokenhearted but undefeated, Fereiba manages to smuggle them as far as Greece. But in a busy market square, their fate takes a frightening turn when her teenage son, Saleem, becomes separated from the rest of the family.
Faced with an impossible choice, Fereiba pushes on with her daughter and baby, while Saleem falls into the shadowy underground network of undocumented Afghans who haunt the streets of Europe’s capitals. Across the continent Fereiba and Saleem struggle to reunite, and ultimately find a place where they can begin to reconstruct their lives.
My rating: 4.75 stars out of a scale of 5
My review: I was provided a free copy of this book in exchange for an honest and fair review. This book is mostly about Fereiba and her family. The book starts out when she is born and tells the story of her life living in Kabul, Afghanistan. Her childhood is not what I would call happy but she had a roof over her head and plenty of food and necessities. She ends up marrying Mahmoud and together they have children. After Fereiba’s first child though, things begin to change in Kabul. Women are no longer along to go out unless escorted by men and there are many other restrictions placed on their lives, including that girls are no longer allowed to attend school. Fereiba had been a teacher before the new laws were imposed but she is no longer given the choice to have a job at all. Though she was unsure in the beginning of their marriage, Mahmoud and Fereiba do well together and end up falling in love. They keep their children grounded and try to give them as normal a life as possible amid all the bombings and war and terror. It isn’t until tragedy strikes though that Fereiba realizes she and her children need to escape Afghanistan. And so begins a journey to England, where Fereiba’s sister lives and has invited them to come stay until they can get on their own feet.
During this time in Afghanistan’s history, hundreds of thousands of refugees were seeking asylum in other countries due to the terror tactics that the Taliban has imposed on the Afghani people. Fereiba and her family have a long journey ahead of them, and it is far from easy. Each country along the way has camps of refugees living in squalor, hoping to be granted asylum so they won’t be sent back. Many who are captured however are sent back to the last country they had traveled through or to Afghanistan itself. Fereiba is also struggling with traveling with her infant child who is discovered along the route to have a heart condition that he will die from if it is not addressed. Fereiba is one of the lucky few refugees who finds kind souls along the way who help her and her family on their journey to a better life.
Overall I honestly loved this book. The subject matter itself is obviously moving and sad and (hopefully) fills the reader with compassion and empathy for these poor souls. The author though really just did such an amazing job with the story, it was beautifully written. It was poignant and touching and I got so involved in the characters and their lives. Fereiba’s journey was full of heart-breaks and tough choices but in that situation what can you do but try and give your children the best life possible? The ending was left slightly open but I can’t help but believe there was a happy ending. This is definitely a must read.
“Teachers are the yeast that makes the dough rise.”
“Love grows wildest in the gardens of hardship.”
“In the darkness, when you cannot see the ground under your feet and when your fingers touch nothing but night, you are not alone. I will stay with you as moonlight stays on water.”
The bottom line: I absolutely loved this book, the writing was poignant and beautiful. I didn’t want to put it down. I would highly recommend.