A House With­out Win­dows

Australian Women’s Weekly NZ - - BOOKS - by Na­dia Hashimi, Harper Collins.

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…?

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