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The Swallows of Kabul

by Yasmina Khadra

Set under the rule of the Taliban in Afghanistan, this tale plots the effect that mass hysteria and zealous fanaticism has on the lives of two married couples. A poignant portrayal of utter despair with exquisite prose that feels so intimate.

Extract

A mad desire to lift the cloth in search of a hypothetical breath of fresh air intensifies her nervousness. But she does not even dare to wipe her dripping face on her burqa. Like a lunatic in a straitjacket, she stays where she is, slumped on her steps, sweating in the heat, listening to her breathing quicken and her blood beat in her temples.
Translated by John Cullen

Parallels

The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad
Waiting for the Barbarians by J M Coetzee
 

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