This book tells the story of two couples struggling through the hardships of life in Afghanistan during the reign of the Taliban, and of how their lives become intertwined. I found the story hard going and quite disturbing and distressing as the traumas that the characters witness and face were difficult to read. Their world seems so far removed from my own and so very dangerous and threatening – and I found it sobering to think that when I am reading about these fictional characters, these types of harrowing situations are actually happening to real people.

I found myself skimming pages as I was apprehensive of what subject matter I might find on the page. It was disturbing to learn about how women are treated in that country, like animals really, having no rights and having to hide their faces and bodies in the burqa whenever they are outside. It is difficult to comprehend that this is the modern world.

The novel did have a love story theme towards the end and I was hopeful that the ending might then be happier and more positive, but it was not to be. And, in fact, the process of the love story itself was difficult to read as it involved huge sacrifices from several characters, and also seemed morally wrong, to me, in the first place (I think I’d have been disappointed if the love story had worked out therefore).

The book is beautifully written and the language is very descriptive, but I found it too disturbing to be enjoyable.

The Swallows Of Kabul (Paperback)

By (author): Yasmina Khadra

Swallows of Kabul
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