Every Tuesday Diane at Bibliophile by the Sea hosts First Chapter First Paragraph Tuesday Intros, where you can share the first paragraph, or a few, of a book you are reading or thinking about reading soon.
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of A Daily Rhythm. Anyone can play along!
Today I am spotlighting When The Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi.
By turns astonishing, frightening, and triumphant, When The Moon Is Low chronicles one brave Afghan woman's odyssey to save her family
In Kabul, we meet Fereiba, a schoolteacher who puts her troubled childhood behind her when she finds love in an arranged marriage. But Fereiba's comfortable life implodes when the Taliban rises to power and her family becomes a target of the new fundamentalist regime. Forced to flee with her three children, Fereiba has one hope for survival: to seek refuge with her sister's family in London.
Traveling with forged papers and depending on the kindness of strangers, Fereiba and the children make a dangerous crossing into Iran under cover of darkness, the start of a harrowing journey that reduces her from a respected wife and mother to a desperate refugee.
Eventually they fall into the shadowy underground network of the undocumented who haunt the streets of Europe's cities. And then, in a busy market square in Athens, their fate takes a frightening turn when Fereiba's teenage son, Saleem, becomes separated from the rest of the family. Without his mother, Saleem is forced, abruptly and unforgivingly, to come of age in a world of human trafficking and squalid refugee camps.
Heartbroken, Fereiba has no choice but to continue on with only her daughter and baby. Mother and son cross border after perilous border, risking their lives in the hope of finding a place where they can be reunited.
Though I love to see my children resting soundly, in the quiet of their slumber my uneasy mind retraces our journey. How did I come to be here, with two of my three children curled on the bristly bedspread of a hotel room? So far from home, so far from voices I recognize.
In my youth, Europe was the land of fashion and sophistication. Fragrant body creams, fine tailored jackets, renowned universities. Kabul admired the fair-complexioned imperialists beyond the Ural Mountains. We batted our eyelashes at them and blended their refinement with our tribal exoticism.
When Kabul crumbled, so did the starry-eyed dreams of my generation. We no longer saw Europe’s frills. We could barely see beyond our own streets, so thick were the plumes of war. By the time my husband and I decided to flee our homeland, Europe’s allure had been reduced to its singular, sexiest quality — peace.
The coins slipped through my fingers as I leaped to my feet and turned. Just inches from me stood one of the leering boys from the marketplace.
So...what do you think? Is this one you would pick up? Leave a comment below!
(These quotes are from uncorrected advance proofs. Please refer to the final printed book for corrected quotes!)