The Taliban Cricket Club

Timeri Murari, Author
Timeri N. Murari. Ecco, $24.99 (336p) ISBN 978-0-06-209125-3
Paperback - 336 pages - 978-1-74237-884-8
Hardcover - 325 pages - 978-1-4434-1064-9
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-0-06-209127-7
Ebook - 336 pages - 978-1-4434-1066-3
Hardcover - 1 pages - 978-1-4551-5691-7
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Murari's newest (after Taj) is set in Kabul, Afghanistan in 2000, and tells the harrowing tale of an educated young newspaperwoman during the Taliban's rule, when "Women must be seen only in the home and in the grave." Rukhsana supports her dying widowed mother and teenaged brother by writing stories secreted outside the country and published pseudonymously. But Rukhsana fears her journalistic cover is blown when summoned by Zorak Wahidi, head of the Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and the Prevention of Vice. He wants journalists to promote a cricket tournament in a misguided bid to win diplomatic accolades for the Taliban. Though woman are not allowed to compete, Rukhsana played cricket at college in India, and so disguises herself as a man to coach her brother and cousins in order to get them out of Afghanistan. But when Wahidi asks for Rukhsana's hand in marriage, she must navigate dangerous social territory in an effort to remain free, and stay alive. Murari's storytelling works best when exploring the daily horrors of Taliban rule, but is less successful in elucidating Rukhsana's conflicted loyalties. Though descriptions of the wildly popular game can be dull, a thrilling climax and atypical story line (one that has roots in real lifeā€”the Taliban really did try to put together a cricket team in 2000) make this well worth a read. Fans of Khaled Hosseini's A Thousand Splendid Suns will be especially pleased . (May 15)
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