A House Without Windows
The author of The Pearl that Broke its Shell returns to Afghanistan with a haunting story about a woman imprisoned for murder. Mother-of-four and obedient wife Zeba is found in the courtyard of her home with the body of her husband beside her, a hatchet in his head. She is carted off to prison, but refuses to say anything about her husband’s death – which makes it difficult for her young Afghan-American lawyer Yusuf to plead her defence. As Yusuf struggles to work with the Afghani justice system and his client’s reticence, Zeba gradually warms to her cellmates – women who have been locked away for zina, or love crimes, while they in turn wonder if she could really be a cold-blooded killer. The discovery that she could have her mother’s power of jadu (witchcraft) elevates Zeba’s status in the prison, and the women flock to her for solutions to their problems. This is both a disturbing portrayal of women’s rights – or lack of them – and a murder mystery, set in an environment where superstition matters, silence protects one while condemning another, and men hold all the power. Or do they…?