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3.84  ·  Rating Details ·  292 Ratings  ·  64 Reviews
Two boys are crossing Europe. Only fourteen and eight years old, they have nothing but the clothes on their backs and a dwindling inheritance stitched into the lining of a belt. Their goal is a future they can no longer wait for in Afghanistan, one they hope to find in faraway England.

As they travel, the older, Aryan, teaches his brother Kabir the capitals of the countries
Paperback, 256 pages
Published March 27th 2012 by Bloomsbury USA (first published 2011)
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Annie Leonard
Apr 02, 2012 Annie Leonard rated it it was amazing
Shelves: contemporary
This book kept me riveted from the first page! I had a hard time putting it down. I couldn't stop thinking about the brothers, Aryan and Kabir, and what these orphans endured as they made their way across the world to their promised land in England. Some of the scenes are horrific, certainly, but mostly it was the tenuousness of their survival and the boy's courage and optimism that makes this an unforgettable book. But in spite of the boys' love for each other and their resilience, it is the pe ...more
Janet Roberts
Sep 20, 2012 Janet Roberts rated it really liked it
This is one of the most moving, and extraordinary books, I've ever read. It tells the story of two brothers. Aryan is 14, and in charge of 8 yer old Kabir, war orphans from Afghanistan. They know this vital mantra 'Kabul-Tehran-Instanbul-Athens-Rome-Paris-London'. If they can complete this perilous journey they think they will be safe, and able to go to school, their one ambition in life. But the journey is a nightmare of exploitation, abuse, cold, hunger and exhaustion, but they know they canno ...more
Mary Ann
Jul 13, 2012 Mary Ann rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Very moving with a somewhat disturbing ending. The author, a foreign correspondent for Rueters as well an expert on human migration issues is well versed in the realites that many people over the world are facing as they flee from repressive regimes. This story of the two young Afghani brothers is indeed heart-wrenching
Jul 30, 2016 Suzie rated it really liked it
Shelves: australian
This book surprised me as it is not the sort of story I usually read. I enjoyed it and thought it was well-written. The author has written some articles on Afghan youths fleeing to Europe which I am interested to read - this is the basis of Hinterland.
Feb 13, 2013 TheRealMelbelle rated it really liked it
I only wish that this novel were truly fiction. Melanie

This excert By Maria Caspani:

As journalist Caroline Brothers listened to some boys in a shelter telling their stories she was taken aback by some of the experiences they recounted at such a young age.

Brothers, a correspondent for the International Herald Tribune, was interviewing Afghan children at refugee shelters and day centres in Paris for her latest book, “Hinterland”.

She wanted to give voice to the experiences of some of the thousands
Andrew Paxman
Jan 01, 2013 Andrew Paxman rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Hinterland envisions a child’s perspective of an odyssey across multiple borders, as two Afghan orphans flee the Taliban for dreamt-of sanctuary and education in England. The boys’ trek is by turns gruelling, heartening, and devastating. As they walk and work, founder and finesse their way across Europe, it’s impossible not to cheer for them.

The novel unfolds in beautiful, economic prose, with evocative flashbacks to the Asian leg of the journey. Some passages – working on a farm during a grim G
Feb 15, 2012 Juliette rated it liked it
Was looking forward to this book - so felt disappointed at it's over-written early pages and feared here would be one more fetishisation-of-suffering through aesthetics book. But no, it soon settles down to tell the story of two brothers travelling overland from Kabul to London and it does this very well, detailing the many obstacles that they find in their way, the small victories, the small mercies. It is, as Barbara Trapido commands us on the cover, 'a story everyone should read.'

There are t
Feb 17, 2013 Randi rated it liked it
This was a good book that I would actually give 3.5 stars to. It is a story of two young boys who were trying to escape Afganistan and make it to England. The crazy thing about the story was the modern-time setting and what life was like for these boys after they had lost everything. The fact that this type of thing goes on all around us during this day in age is disturbing. However, on the brighter side, their opinions and attitudes towards the most simple things are a great reminder of the thi ...more
Aug 23, 2012 Christy rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: library
An interesting story of two brothers as they travel from Afghanistan to England in hopes of finding some freedom from the Taliban. Although it is an amazing story, it is not well written.

The storyline is jumbled and jumps from past to present and different locations so often that I had a hard time keeping up. And there was not much detail or development into the characters. This cross-country journey was squished into a mere 245 pages... there is no way that all the details of their journey cou
Kelsey Cooper
Dec 25, 2012 Kelsey Cooper rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
One of the sadder stories I can remember, Caroline Brothers brings the boys alive and their story is immediate. My heart goes out to the hundreds of young people trying to escape oppression. I found the cirmcunstances to be completely believable. I couldn't put it down.
Jayne Charles
Dec 29, 2014 Jayne Charles rated it liked it
Coming home via the Calais-Dover ferry a few months ago, I saw first hand the many hundreds of migrants who line the route to the port, trying to jump on the back of lorries in an apparently hopeless attempt to cross the Channel. It really brought home the problem that I was previously only vaguely aware of, and the scale of it shocked me.

This book answered many of the questions I had. Following two young boys attempting to make the journey to England across two continents, it looks at how they
May 05, 2015 Sonatajessica rated it really liked it
3 days ago I didn't know this book existed. Now I am pondering the unfairness of book hypes and how such great and important books as this can be overlooked. Pondering the unfairness of a world that forces people into fates as portrayed here just for being born in the wrong place with the wrong citizenship.
Illegal refuges and if they get lucky later on illegal citizens aren't just a nuisance, they are people who didn't have much of a choice if they wanted something better for themselves and thei
Oct 04, 2014 Matilda rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: european-fiction
A beautiful, sad and moving story written in 2012 but very relevant today (September 2015), when so many refugees are flocking at our borders. I wish this book was read by those who talk in the language of fear and hate, but probably the people who whose minds are open enough to read this story are already willing to open their doors to those fleeing war, persecution and poverty.

The book is inspired by real-life accounts the author Caroline Brothers heard in her job as a journalist, talking to m
Jan 03, 2014 John rated it really liked it
Shelves: contemporary
A short novel which convincingly portrays the lives of child refugees, in this case two Afghani brothers trying to reach London. The plot line clearly incorporates real stories from the author's extensive research. My own experience is that refugees or migrants more generally are often reluctant to talk about their journeys, perhaps sensing that a listener in the UK is either unlikely to understand or will – if they do – be overwhelmed by the inevitable tales of hardship.

Hinterland underlies how
Nov 06, 2015 Bnryn rated it it was amazing
This book was such a riveting account of the tough, troubling and somewhat extraordinary lengths and experiences refugees go through, that it reflected the reality of the situation of the thousands of people we read about in the newspapers and watch on the news. Aryan and Kabir brought me on a emotional roller coaster. While turning each page of the book I was on edge as to what will happen to them next. The writing made me feel like the boys were real and I wanted to help them in some way. Turn ...more
Nov 19, 2012 Tina rated it liked it
This is the story of 2 brothers,one 14 and one 8, and the long and arduous, not to mention dangerous, journey they undertake in order to find a better life outside of Taliban controlled Afghanistan. They somehow survive cold, hunger, and those who take advantage of them, in hopes of reaching England where they can go to school, and be free. Whenever I finish a book that opens my eyes to the plight of those in other parts of the world, that helps me to empathize, to understand, or to be more awar ...more
Feb 23, 2013 Marj rated it really liked it
Hinterland is a hauntingly poetic story which deals with the displacement of people from homelands, the heart-breaking journey of two brothers across countries, giving us glimpses into the multi-faceted problems faced not only by refugees, but also by authorities trying to deal with them.

Caroline Brothers brings a wealth of background information to this story, and it's hard to imagine how difficult it must have been for her to decide what detail to include and what to leave out, how to achieve
This is a beautiful book, and it's true there is a very sad somewhat open ending.

I really love the fact that the entire book is in third person present point of view. It really struck me because sadly this sort of scenario is going on everyday without a lot of us realizing it. Made me do a lot of introspection and a little ashamed for complaining about things like angry patrons at work, and running out of hot water for showers, haha.

That being said, I could only give it three stars though becaus
Sarah Carr
Jul 24, 2012 Sarah Carr rated it it was amazing
This book was extremely captivating! From the start I couldn't put it down until the very end. I was so upset and disappointed with the way the book ended. Not the way it was written, but what happened. These two boys have persevered through thick and thin and then when you think they have finally made it, BAM! Not what I was hoping for. I tossed the book on my coffee table with disgust after I read the ending and said, (view spoiler) (sorry, do ...more
Deon Stonehouse
Two brothers, only 14 and 8, struggle westward from war torn Afghanistan joining a veritable army of children heading by any means available to England. They travel any way they can, by foot, in rafts across swollen rivers, locked in trucks, moving ever westward well off the grid and unprotected. Unscrupulous farmers and plant managers use them as slave labor; they live rough in sheds, on beaches, wherever they can find shelter. Trying to reach a place where they can be safe, stay together, go t ...more
Nov 29, 2014 Lizie rated it it was amazing
Long after I should have turned the light out I was still reading this book. A sad story about two young Afghan brothers whose parents have died in the war. They attempt to make their way to England - "a fair country" - with the hope that they will be able to go to school - something denied them in Afghanistan. The subsequent challenges of their journey, their encounters with people who would help or hinder their progress, trying weather, lack of food, etc, make up the substance of this refugee ...more
Sep 04, 2012 Marvin rated it really liked it
This is a compelling, eye-opening story of two Afghan brothers (14 & 8 years old) who are refugees from the war and spend nearly a year making their way through Iraq, Turkey, Greece, Italy, and France in an effort to reach England, where they hope to go to school. Some parts seem implausible, not, I suspect, because they're unrealistic but because what we force the victims of 21st-century wars to go through is quite literally unbelievable. The boys tug at my heart through their pluck and res ...more
Andrew Crofts
Jun 28, 2013 Andrew Crofts rated it liked it
Haunting story of two young boys trying to make their way from Afghanistan to England. The author is a journalist who has obviously spent a great deal of time with displaced children such as these and knows all too well how grim their lives are. All the time I was reading it I was aware that there are millions of people on this planet who end up, through no fault of their own, on the outside of society, doing their best and willing to work hard but never getting a break. Very sad and very readab ...more
Jul 03, 2014 Jane rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-in-2014
This is a thought provoking book. It is a book that touches the heart. It's a hard book to forget and it made the refugee question that most people deal with in the abstract come alive. It shines a light on the way governments across Europe handle the 1,000s of people fleeing persecution and their war torn countries. It is a book that made me think of the way Australia deals with the many people and 'unaccompanied children' trying to come to come here in the hopes of a better life and it made m ...more
Dec 08, 2015 Charlie rated it it was amazing
This is an emotionally gut-wrenching story about two young brothers fleeing their home in Iran to travel to England by any means necessary and if I say much more I'll spoil the story. What is important about this book and why it matters is that it tells us, without compromise and without allowing any preparation on our part, the absolute worst situations for refugees. It is about dark, realistic struggles but above all it is a book that needed to have been written in light of the last few years. ...more
Kathleen McRae
Mar 15, 2014 Kathleen McRae rated it really liked it
Hinterland is a novel but I think taken from real life happenings. It describes the horror and havoc war visits on countries and families when it leaves two brothers orphaned and compelled to leave their home to seek a safer place.Then the book spotlights the predation of children as the two brothers are forced to work on a farm from dawn to dusk on starvation rations.They also have to dodge the pedophiles.Hinterland is not a book for the faint hearted but in many places in the world it is happe ...more
Aug 13, 2012 Bev rated it really liked it
Though this is a story of heartbreak and suffering, of two brothers who flee Afganistan in hopes of making it to London where they can go to school. Despite its sadness, I enjoyed reading it. The writing was a pleasure and the story was a surprise to me. Are there really countries that do so little to help orphaned children on the street? Does America do the same thing? Are there really children of so young an age who make their way alone for thousands of miles?

I really liked this book.
Nov 04, 2012 Lindsey rated it liked it
This is a sobering story of 2 young boys' flight to freedom. Brothers, Aryan and Kabir, are the only surviving members left of their Afgan family after the Taliban wars started. They use people smugglers, grit, determination and luck to transport themselves from Afganistan to London, England to try for a better life. It tells of how they are treated, both good and bad, and what kind of conditions they survive, and how they take care of each other.
Sep 23, 2012 Betty rated it really liked it
Another well written, sad story. It tells of orphan brothers from Afghanistan being smuggled and making their way towards England and the harrowing events that befall them. It makes you realize how hard life is for so many people today and how fortunate we are for our relative security and freedom from want.
Jan 09, 2013 Stefanie rated it really liked it
A harrowing and heart-wrenching novel about two orphaned Afghani boys crossing borders to secure their perceived freedom and futures in England. Their geographic mantra of KabulTehranIstanbulAthensRomeParisLondon is a refrain that will stay in your mind - and will likely make you see these cities in a very different light. A worthwhile read, but definitely heart-wrenching.
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Caroline Brothers was born in Australia. She has a PhD in history from University College London and has worked as a foreign correspondent in Europe and Latin America. She currently lives in Paris where she writes for the International Herald Tribune and the New York Times. She is the author of War and Photography and also writes short stories. Hinterland is her first novel.
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