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A Note From the Publisher
"Though it is set in a place we think we know (Afghanistan), this continuously startling and often very moving book opens up a new country, a fresh and diverse landscape of human striving and disappointment. With grace, melancholy and wit, it describes the joys and sadnesses of ordinary life obscured by the last decade of shrill headlines. Everyone should read it."--Pankaj Mishra
“Very little of what is written in English can describe the grip of Afghanistan’s “normal emergency” as can these beautiful, remarkable stories. They are heartbreaking and violent tales, excerpts from the minds of orphans who mourn not so much mere parents as ancestry itself – the ancestry of history and wisdom – and there is rarely any redemption to the grief save only the lyricism of storytelling. But this lyricism is rich, one that brings into fluid English the poignant harmonies of other literatures and tongues, and it carries with it a faith greater than those of warring forces.” --Rana Dasgupta, author of Tokyo Canceled and Solo
"I was extremely impressed by this collection of stories by Afghan writers under thirty. From the elemental simplicity of Abdul Shakoor Jawad's story of retribution and reconciliation, 'The Hasher', to the acid wit of Hosai Wardak's exposure of collective mysogyny, 'Ice Cream', to the complex horrors of Khalid Ahmad Atif's extraordinary war story, 'The Sea Floor', the work on display here is not only gripping and beautifully executed, but also possessed of a rare cultural and political urgency. I recommend it very highly."--James Lasdun
"If we only read about Afghanistan through the news cycle, we’re stuck within an information and problem-solving framework. Even first-person essays meant to give contextual meaning often seem manufactured to elicit the only acceptable response to tragedy: gravitas. This anthology allows us to enter Afghanistan through its people, not its events, and this makes for a far more lively, subtle, and human connection to the place where we wage war."--LA Review of Books