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A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family…
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A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story (edició 2013)

de Qais Akbar Omar (Autor)

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1845117,991 (4.49)23
A young Afghan man's memoir of his family and country in which the horrors and perils he faced, his imprisonment, and his quiet resistance explore life in a country whose history has become deeply entwined with the United States, but has eluded understanding.
Títol:A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story
Autors:Qais Akbar Omar (Autor)
Informació:Farrar, Straus and Giroux (2013), Edition: 1St Edition, 416 pages
Col·leccions:La teva biblioteca, Per llegir
Etiquetes:No n'hi ha cap

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A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story de Qais Akbar Omar

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Es mostren totes 5

Originally posted here

'I have long carried this load of griefs in the cage of my heart. Now I have given them to you. I hope you are strong enough to hold them.'

Wow, what a start to my reading year. A Fort of Nine Towers is the author's memoir of growing up in Afghanistan during a couple of decades of civil war and the Taliban. It chronicles the author's entire family as they are forced to flee their Grandfather's house (where the whole extended family lived together) and became refugees. It is a tale of survival and Qais speaks about the terrible things that he experienced that were so horrific, I just don't know how any human could have borne it. Honestly. I could never have imagined the things that happened to him, and his story is truly a testament to the power of the human spirit.

One of my favourite parts of this book was the beginning, when Qais talks about Afghanistan as a beautiful country with a strong community spirit and it was just lovely learning of a culture that I have never experienced or even knew that much about. I found the writing to be beautiful and the pacing was just perfect. I was so riveted by this book that I just was thinking of it constantly.

I was eleven years old when the 9/11 happened and I have perfect 'flashbulb' memories of getting home from school and seeing it on the news and being shocked. But to think of all the evil that was going on in Afghanistan and other countries that had been happening for years before, it just blows my mind. What civil war and the Taliban did to the people of Afghanistan just has be read to be believed, and to think its not over now even as I type. Depressing. But I think Qais tells his memoir with so much love, compassion and hope that when I reached the last page I felt hopeful also.

Some bits in this book will just stick with me forever, for example, there was a chapter where Qais was describing how one day he was stopped by a member of the Taliban in the street and was told to remove his clothes so that his armpit and pubic hair could be measured, or face being taken to prison. His armpit and pubic hair had to be under one inch. Of course Qais's hair was not under an inch and so he was forced into a car that was going to take him to the Taliban prison, where Qais knew he was going to be raped by that man. How he escaped that situation, its just incredible. There are numerous upsetting scenes that are even worse than that so TRIGGER WARNINGS of human rights abuses, rape and torture. It's very grim.

I think everybody should read this memoir as it is profoundly moving and gives an own voice perspective of Afghanistan and it's people, it is reminiscent of Persepolis which I also loved. I can't recommend highly enough. ( )
  4everfanatical | Jan 4, 2017 |
Qais Akbar Omar's tale of growing up in Afghanistan isn't the best written memoir I've read, but it had me engrossed throughout. Omar grew up in Kabul under the Soviet occupation. His father was a physics teacher at a high school and a partner in an Afghan carpet company. His mother worked in the bank. He lived with his family in his grandfather's compound; a large courtyard encompassing an apple orchard surrounded by the houses of the members of his extended family. His companions were his twenty-five cousins. Their comfortable life was blown apart when the Soviets withdrew, leaving the Mujahedin who had defeated them to splinter into factions and begin fighting each other. Their home is in a neighborhood regularly hit by missiles and bullets, and they live pinned in place until a temporary cease-fire allows them to escape across town, to the home of his father's business partner, once known as The Fort of Nine Towers, although only one tower now remains.

But when the fighting targets their new refuge, Omar and his family flee to Mazar-e-Sharif, and when the war follows, they travel around Afghanistan, modern nomads looking for shelter. They spend a winter in the caves carved into the cliffs behind the Buddha statues of Bamyan, another season with the nomadic Kuchis, another with strangers who generously take them in, before they return to Kabul, only for the Taliban to arrive, ending the constant street battles, but bringing a new and insidious danger.

This is a story of hope and resilience. Despite the horrific things that happened around them, and to them, Omar's family kept going, living as though there would be a future, even when there was no sign that anything would get better. Because of their travels around Afghanistan, this book also takes a look at some of the different cultures living in Afghanistan. The book ends when the Americans begin their bombing raids, when Omar is seventeen. ( )
  RidgewayGirl | Feb 13, 2016 |
I would put this on my shelf right next to Malala's book. It's another true and even more incredible story of a boy's blissful life in Afghanistan before and under the Mujahadeen and the Taliban. Qais is a son of a very large Afghan family living all together in a splendid Kabul home, with special love for his grandfather and older cousin Wakeel. His father is a well-to-do carpet seller who thrived during the Russian occupation until the war of the warlords begins. In heartbreaking passages, neither Grandfather nor Wakeel live to tell their own tales.

After an incredible refugee life all over Afghanistan fleeing the death and violence, including living in the head of a carved Buddha in the mountains and joining their goatherd cousins for a season, the book ends with Qais back in Kabul, now selling carpets of his own making, and training women and girls to do the same because the Taliban does not allow women out of the house.

The book reads like a novel and it is just as remarkable a survivor's tale as Malala's. Five stars for writing and for courage. ( )
  froxgirl | Jun 29, 2014 |
I’m not entirely sure what to do with myself after reading Qais Akbar Omar’s memoir, A Fort Of Nine Towers. He's not too much younger than me, I think, but has lived a completely different life, growing up in Afghanistan and seeing things no child should see. I want to go and find him, put my hand on his shoulder and say, “Brother, you have experienced the best and the worst of humanity, all while I thought my biggest problem was not having a larger screen television. You suffered outrageous physical and emotional pain while I was busy eating rich food and wringing my hands over how disappointing I thought the Star Wars prequels were. Thank you for telling your story - your people's story - and for reminding me how vital and strong the human spirit is.”

This book is a window into the heartbeat of Afghanistan that will stay with me for a long, long time. ( )
3 vota madcurrin | Nov 24, 2013 |
A powerful read.

This book certainly packed a punch!
An autobiographical story of a young boy's life in Afghanistan, from the final days of Communism, through civil war and the Mujahideen war lords, to the rise of the Taliban. His is a wealthy, well educated family, who must leave behind their home and wealth to escape the rocket attacks between neighbouring factions of the Mujahideen.

They pile sixteen family members into the car and drive the five miles to a friend's house, known as the Fort of Nine Towers. This becomes their new home and the starting point for the many adventures they experience in their ultimate quest to escape from Afghanistan into a new life.

This is a very close knit family and the love really shines through, in spite of the extreme situations they find themselves in. They are surrounded by a lot of cruelty and sadistic behaviour from the ruling powers, which at times can be harrowing to read about, let alone imagine living through.

The Taliban the author describes are illiterate, unwashed and violent.
Although I have read several books about Afghanistan at this time, most concentrate on the restrictions placed on women, so this was particularly interesting, coming from a male author and covering the problems from a male perspective.

We discussed Fort of Nine Towers at our multicultural book group and it was an excellent discussion. One point that was raised however, that did make me think, was the question as to whether all this really happened to one man or if he may have included a few experiences from other friends or relatives. I'm on the fence with this question, but I can see why one might wonder....
In spite of this, a truly powerful read, absolutely fascinating, this gripped me right to the end.

Highly recommended. ( )
  DubaiReader | Jun 30, 2013 |
Es mostren totes 5
Omar's biography chronicles his own life and that of his family. As Afghanistan moves through Russian invasion, Communist rule, mujahedin conflicts, the Taliban and the Western intervention, so, too, does Omar.… Omar's flair is to be dramatic but not theatrical, to be acutely sensitive but not desensitised. That is a rare gift, in a special book.
The product of an immensely talented writer, “A Fort of Nine Towers” puts a human face on the violent history of Afghanistan.… The daily struggles of Omar’s family to survive endless war, hunger and poverty demonstrate the remarkable ability of human beings to love and support one another despite the dire conditions in which they live.
Mind-boggling yet matter-of-fact, “A Fort of Nine Towers” is the memoir of a childhood in ’90s Afghanistan — a riveting story of war as seen through a child’s eyes and summoned from an adult’s memory.… Omar’s retelling startlingly transforms each horror into a reminder of what lies beneath the rubble: an openhearted, hospitable community of generous, gregarious people, “one minute laughing and the next minute shouting” and always fiercely loyal to their kind.
Among Omar's many achievements, his greatest is in capturing a child's world without undercutting the depth in his book.
afegit per Muscogulus | editaThe Independent, Arifa Akbar (May 31, 2013)
Omar reveals character with the economy of a seasoned novelist. His deeply religious grandfather, the family's revered patriarch; his proud father, humiliated by his inability to protect them; his devoted mother and teasing older sister all live on the page, as does the deaf-mute carpet weaver he encounters during their flight. She imparts without words the skill that gives Omar a trade and a reason to persevere in the bleakest days of Taliban oppression, and his book -- tender and hopeful against all odds -- closes with the wish that they will meet again.
afegit per Muscogulus | editaNewsday, Wendy Smith (May 15, 2013)
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Wikipedia en anglès (1)

A young Afghan man's memoir of his family and country in which the horrors and perils he faced, his imprisonment, and his quiet resistance explore life in a country whose history has become deeply entwined with the United States, but has eluded understanding.

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Mitjana: (4.49)
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