Rukhsana is a spirited young journalist in Afghanistan. She takes care of her ill, widowed mother and her younger brother, but when she is summoned to the infamous Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice, their quiet, tenuous way of life is shattered.
There, the malevolent minister, Zorak Wahidi, announces that the Taliban has found a new way to pursue the diplomatic respect it has long been denied: cricket. On the world stage of sports, the Taliban will prove they are a fair and just regime. Rukhsana and several other journalists are to report that a tournament will be held to determine who will play for Afghanistan. Anyone can put together a team. Women are forbidden to play. The winners will travel to Pakistan to train, then go on to represent Afghanistan around the world.
Rukhsana knows this is a shameful, deeply surreal idea. The Taliban will never embrace a game rooted in civility, fairness, and equality. And no one in Afghanistan even knows how to play the game - except Rukhsana.
This could be a way to get her family out of Afghanistan for good, but before she can organize a team, Wahidi demands her hand in marriage. He finds her exciting and infuriating and wants to control her willful nature. The union would be her prison, stripping away what few freedoms she has left. Refusing, however, might mean her death. Her family rallies around her, willing to do anything to protect her, no matter the cost.
Then Rukhsana realizes that Wahidi may have given her a way out. With the help of her beloved brother and cousins, she forms her own cricket team and sets about teaching them how to win their freedom - with a bat and a ball.
Inspired by the Taliban’s actual and unprecedented promotion of cricket in 2000 in an attempt to gain acceptance in the global community, internationally best-selling author Murari weaves a riveting story of strength, hope, and soaring human triumph that proves no tyranny is ever absolute in the face of love.
“A beautifully written novel that takes the reader through the shrouded world of one woman whose only crime is being a woman…I loved this riveting book.” (Deborah Rodriguez, New York Times best-selling author of Kabul Beauty School)
“A moving, splendidly realized story of courage and grit in modern-day Kabul. I was won over by Murari’s uplifting and vastly entertaining sporting tale, which reaffirms the power of friendship, fellowship, and love in the face of all forms of tyranny.” (Vikas Swarup, New York Times best-selling author of Slumdog Millionaire)
“Fans of Khaled Hosseini’s The Kite Runner will here find a similarly uplifting story about good people surviving their horrific circumstances.… Murari has crafted a tense, compelling story.” (Library Journal)
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Taliban up close and personal
This book ranks high on my list of audiobooks. I am 'enjoying' listening to the Afghani accent and pronunciation of names and places. The reading is very well done and puts me into the place and time. Which for this story is very disquieting.
I like the personal perspective about a people, a place, and a time.
She does such a wonderful job of 'being' Roxanna. I feel like I am in the story with Roxanna.
I an not creative. It is the title that enticed me to look at the book and then decide to 'read' the audio version.
I like the book enough that I am recommending it to my friends, and book club groups. I think it is story that women should read and learn from. It is a simple story, well told about a different time, place, and people. We Americans live in our own cocoon.
Engrossing albeit predictable story
- Caribbean knight "caribbeanknight26"