Author Nadia Hashimi has painted a very vivid picture of life for women in Afghanistan. She has made real to me what news reels could not convey. It will take courageous women and men, like those depicted in this book, to improve daily life in that country.
A House without Windows seemed to start out as a fairly straight forward story of a woman killing her husband, but with each twist and revelation, we learned that all was not as it seemed. Did Zeba really kill her husband and why. Would anyone speak in her defence, or would they hide behind their walls ignoring the need for justice.
As this story progressed, it pulled me closer into Zeba and her cellmates lives. I didn't want to put the book down as the need to find out what would happen with them grew greater with every chapter. At times, her fate seemed pretty grim and pre-determined, though there always one more ray of hope that kept the story from becoming depressing. Zeba's love for her children, her budding friendship first with her cellmates and then with the other women of the prison gave me that sense that all was not bleak. As the story continued, there were other characters who showed promise for positive change. All of which made for an endearing read. This story of mothers, sisterhood, truths and appropriate justice left me feeling empowered and most of all, it left me feeling hopeful.
Cover image courtesy Harper Collins Canada.