Playing for Freedom
The Journey of a Young Afghan Girl
by Zarifa Adiba; Anne Chaon
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Pub Date 07 May 2024 | Archive Date 21 May 2024
AmazonCrossing, Amazon Crossing
A passionate musician growing up in the war-torn streets of Kabul takes her forbidden talents abroad in this triumphant memoir from debut author Zarifa Adiba.
As an Afghan girl, Zarifa Adiba has big, unfathomable dreams. Her family is poor, her country mired in conflict. Walking to school in Kabul, Zarifa has to navigate suicide bombers.
But Zarifa perseveres, nurturing her passion for music despite its “sinful” nature under Taliban law. At sixteen she gains admission to the Afghanistan National Institute of Music, and at eighteen she becomes the lead violist, co-conductor, and spokesperson for Zohra, the first all-female orchestra in the Muslim world.
Despite Zarifa’s accomplishments—which include a stunning performance at the World Economic Forum in Davos, Switzerland—her future in music demands a reckoning with her life back home. Many of the girls in Zohra are forced to marry, but Zarifa yearns to study, travel, and explore her independence. Her so-called “bad girl” identity puts her at odds with her culture and her family.
Playing for Freedom is the deeply compelling story of a woman who dares to compose a masterpiece even with all odds stacked against her.
A Note From the Publisher
Anne Chaon is a journalist and former correspondent for the Agence France-Presse. She was based in Kabul, Afghanistan, from June 2016 to September 2018 and again in June 2021.