Wednesday, May 17, 2017

Review: A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi

Title: A House Without Windows
Author: Nadia Hashimi
Format: Paperback
Publisher: William Morrow
Publish Date: August 16, 2016
Source: TLC Book Tours and HarperCollins

What's the Story?:

From "For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home. Nearly catatonic with shock, Zeba is unable to account for her whereabouts at the time of his death. Her children swear their mother could not have committed such a heinous act. Kamal’s family is sure she did, and demands justice. Barely escaping a vengeful mob, Zeba is arrested and jailed.

Awaiting trial, she meets a group of women whose own misfortunes have led them to these bleak cells: eighteen-year-old Nafisa, imprisoned to protect her from an “honor killing”; twenty-five-year-old Latifa, a teen runaway who stays because it is safe shelter; twenty-year-old Mezghan, pregnant and unmarried, waiting for a court order to force her lover’s hand. Is Zeba a cold-blooded killer, these young women wonder, or has she been imprisoned, like them, for breaking some social rule? For these women, the prison is both a haven and a punishment; removed from the harsh and unforgiving world outside, they form a lively and indelible sisterhood.

Into this closed world comes Yusuf, Zeba’s Afghan-born, American-raised lawyer whose commitment to human rights and desire to help his homeland have brought him back. With the fate this seemingly ordinary housewife in his hands, Yusuf discovers that, like the Afghanistan itself, his client may not be at all what he imagines."

My Two Cents:

When "A House Without Windows" opens, Zeba is accused of killing her husband. No one around her can believe that Zeba, a mild mannered housewife, would dare to kill her husband. In Afghanistan, there is often no recourse for women who commit a crime and Zeba resigns herself to this fate. Yusuf, an Afghanistan born - American raised lawyer, takes up her case and is determined to get her out of jail. This is a great book about modern-day Afghanistan!

The characters in this book are really great. All Zeba wants to do is to live a good life and to protect her children. She never anticipated going to jail. Although she does not like being in jail, she is resigned and does nothing to actively help Yusuf get her out. As the story progresses, we see the secrets of Zeba's past and what drove her come to light. It gives us insight into what makes her tick and how far she had to be pushed to go to the drastic measures that get her into jail.

Yusuf is also another strong character. He really wants to help his home country of Afghanistan. He is driven to make things better and is passionate about trying to practice law in a way that helps people. He deals with the in-between. Growing up, he felt too Afghani to be totally American and now that he is back in Afghanistan, he is often seen as a foreigner. It was interesting to see how he counters this and makes peace with the in-between throughout the book!

Nadia Hashimi is quickly becoming one of my must-read authors. Her books are insightful and tell so much about a culture that I know so little about. The themes that she deals with are complicated. She uses this story to talk about the plight of many women in Afghanistan who feel like they do not have a voice even if something really bad happens to them. She also uses this story to explore what it is like to be torn between two cultures in Yusuf. Both of these themes as well as a taut story line makes this book worth reading!

Follow the Rest of the Tour:

Tuesday, May 16th: Book by Book
Wednesday, May 17th: Real Life Reading
Wednesday, May 17th: A Bookish Affair
Thursday, May 18th: Helen’s Book Blog
Friday, May 19th: Tina Says…
Monday, May 22nd: Reading is My Super Power
Tuesday, May 23rd: Girl Who Reads
Wednesday, May 24th: From the TBR Pile
Wednesday, May 24th: BookNAround
Thursday, May 25th: The Book Diva’s Reads
Friday, May 26th: Read Her Like an Open Book
Monday, May 29th: Based on a True Story
Tuesday, May 30th: Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World
Wednesday, May 31st: A Literary Vacation
Thursday, June 1st: G. Jacks Writes
Friday, June 2nd: Jenn’s Bookshelves


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one. I read and reviewed it a couple of months ago. Like you, I consider any Nadia Hashimi book a 'must read'!

  2. Great review and recommendation. Thanks for sharing a new to me author.
    sherry @ fundinmental

  3. Yusuf's plight - of being too Afgani on the one hand and too American on the other hand - is so typical of many immigrants. It is so hard to be in that in between space.

    Thanks for being a part of the tour!


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