someday ill be in company of all....

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Book Review: Born under a million shadow by Andrea Busfield

Title: Born under a million shadow
Author: Andrea Bursfield
Publisher: Transworld
Price: Rs 738
Pages: 384
Genre: Historic fiction
Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Source: Personal

From backcover:
The Taliban have disappeared from Kabul's streets, but the long shadows of their brutal regime remain. In his short life eleven-year-old Fawad has known more grief than most: his father and brother have been killed, his sister has been abducted, and Fawad and his mother, Mariya, must rely on the charity of family to eke out a hand-to-mouth existence.
Then Mariya finds a position as housekeeper for a charismatic western woman, Georgie, and Fawad dares to hope for an end to their struggle. He soon discovers that his beloved Georgie is caught up in a dangerous love affair with the powerful Afghan warlord Haji Khan, a legendary name on the streets of Kabul. At first resentful of Haji Khan's presence, Fawad learns that love can move a man to act in surprising ways, and an overwhelming act of generosity persuades him of the warlord's good intentions.
But even a man as influential as Haji Khan can't protect Fawad from the next tragedy to blight his young life, a tragedy so devastating that it threatens to destroy the one thing Fawad thought he could never lose: his love for his country.
Afghanistan being  in much trouble for many years has been a topic of journalist turned writers, for fiction and non-fiction alike and all of them have a shared  shade of melancholy drawn all  through it..
Fawad (do read the epilogue of why author chose this name) eleven year old boy has lost all in his family except his mother by the atrocities of Taliban reign.. Living on charity of his relatives his life revolves into hand to mouth state in a shattered home..Still he grows up into an intelligent, strong, brave boy with a fling of  optimism  with  dreams and hopes for a better tomorrow..Meanwhile his mother Mariya is offered a job as a housekeeper at Georgie's house..Along Georgie we are introduced to two other friends James an engineer and May an engineer with whom Georgie shares her house..Then on the story kick starts with Fawad developing a big time crush on Georgie who is intelligent, well read and caring..To Fawad's utter dismay Georgie is involved with Haji Khan an Afghan warlord...He can only watch helplessly as the relation blossom...But soon things threaten to fall apart...

I loved the way  Busfiled handled the plot ,the characters are so lovable, she has made it her point to make all the characters memorable just as that of the protagonist's, from Jamilla to Spandi -Fawad's playmates to James , May all stay deep in....Fawad who is introduced as a young boy,with nothing around to hold on to, his journey to being a young man with all the internal conflicts that of  love , hate, distress and loss are portrayed well that you can't help but wish him well..Haji Khan epitomizes the darker part of the Taliban regime...The relation of Haji and Georgie goes through without much drama and fan fare giving the right picture with right dimension to the reader...All along the novel Bursfield's love for the country its culture and people pumps up...The human spirit at the hands of hard times and pressure, kinship , love and zeal to lead along are all portrayed without being preached..Bursfield has stayed away from making any political statements yet her stand comes clear and vivid through various situations Fawad comes face to face...Fawad comes to learn many things from alcohol to sex through the three foreigners..For him they a window to the world outside his.. Even through the hard times Fawd keeps his wit and humour alive..I loved the way Fawad played the role of matchmaker for his mother and the blind shopkeeper was a real treat to read along...

I loved the book for the beauty of the language and the style to portray a distressed life that could be changed  by way of perception..


  1. I am so happy to see that you are back VB! I am that you are well.

    This book sounds really good as well as timely. The plot is of course relevant and sounds as if it tackles some important issues. The fact that the you found the writing and the style to be so well done is an enormous plus for a book like this.

  2. thank u so much for the kind really feels great to be back..i only hope to consistent though...:)..been tryng with genre that I havent really tried before..,,


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