The Taliban Cricket Club
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The Taliban Cricket Club

3.78 of 5 stars 3.78  ·  rating details  ·  1,099 ratings  ·  246 reviews
Rukhsana is a spirited young journalist working for the Kabul Daily in Afghanistan. She takes care of her ill, widowed mother and her younger brother, Jahan. With the arrival of a summons for Rukhsana to appear before the infamous Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice, the family’s world is shattered. The Minister, zorak Wahidi, has two goals in min...more
Paperback, 336 pages
Published May 14th 2012 by HarperCollins Canada (first published January 1st 2012)
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Community Reviews

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Kat Ward
Ever go online and watch the execution back in 1999 of the woman covered in a burqa as she knelt down on the field at Kabul's Olympic Stadium? For some reason, I did. Maybe because I needed to see it to believe it.

I remember after 9/11 when suddenly the Bush administration jumped on the bandwagon, speaking out about how atrociously the Taliban treated women—like they hadn't been for some time already—using this as another reason to convince the American people of the "right" for an American inv...more
Pamela Detlor
Jun 13, 2012 Pamela Detlor rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: all adults
The Taliban Cricket Club is a moving story of family, friendship, honor, and courage in the face of the horrors of war.

In a world where women are no longer permitted to have rights and freedoms, Rukhsana continues to risk her life by writing stories about the cruelty of the Taliban. She along with other journalists, are summoned to appear before the “Ministry for the Propagation of Virtue and Prevention of Vice.” They stand in line, expecting to meet their end in front of a firing squad; but ar...more
Helmut
Die unsichtbare Frau
Immer wieder sieht man auch hier in Saarbrücken vollverschleierte Frauen mit Burka herumlaufen. Obwohl ich leider im Ruf der Toleranz stehe, halte ich das für eine verbietenswürdige Praxis - deutlicher, als eine Frau in ein Stoffgefängnis mit Sichtschlitz zu stecken, kann man seine Misogynie ja gar nicht ausdrücken. Die Quälerei, ein Leben mit solch einer Burka als "unsichtbare Frau" leben zu müssen, wird der eigentlich freigeistig erzogenen, die Welt liebenden Rukhsana (ein...more
Natalie
Maybe I've read too many novels that take place in Afghanistan or Iran because this book was just too predicable. It had a different twist to it that made it different than the other books, that being the sport Cricket. But the same story line that I see in all of these books is: Woman betrothed to someone she doesn't love or forced to marry a bad man but is really in love with someone else. This book still had an interesting story but I prefer the writing style I've read in some other Middle Ea...more
Jo
Amazing book- absolutely loved it. Well written, heart breaking, engaging,humour and tears. There are so many issues raised by this book (not it's primary aim)it would make a great book club book. The heroine, Rukhsana is an incredible woman, brave, feisty and passionate. The book doesn't dwell on atrocities but they are there in the background. A story of courage and hope in the face of the most oppresive adversity. It says it all that I picked it up on a whim and have sat and read the whole th...more
Shannon White
The Taliban Cricket Club is a fictional novel based on an obscure historical truth -- the Taliban briefly promoted cricket in Afghanistan. However despite the seemingly dire subject, the Taliban Cricket Club maintains a light-hearted feel throughout the book. The main character, Rukhsana, is a spirited young lady that seeks to take action where she can to defy the Taliban regime. She gathers a motley crew of cousins to participate in a state sponsored cricket tournament where the first prize is...more
Amy
The year is 2000. Rukhsana is 24. She has returned to Kabul from Delhi, where her father was a diplomat and where she played cricket in college. Rukhsana's mother is dying of cancer. Although Rukhsana was working as a journalist, the Taliban takeover means the end of her work and brutalities to witness every time she leaves the house. Rukhsana and her brother Jahan think only of how to leave Afghanistan.

A very long-shot opportunity comes along when the Taliban-led government decides to improve i...more
Sam Still Reading
Jul 08, 2012 Sam Still Reading rated it 5 of 5 stars Recommends it for: those who loved A Thousand Splendid Suns
Recommended to Sam Still Reading by: Mum won it in a competition & I 'borrowed' it
When I first read the title of this book, I wondered what on earth it could be about. From what I knew about the Taliban, they didn’t appear to have time to play cricket! But as you read this book, with its equal measures of repression, love, humour and intense sadness, you will understand exactly why this name is the perfect title. Murari writes a sensitive book that will have you laughing, crying and cheering in equal measures.

The main character of the novel is Rukshana, a former journalist wh...more
Cat
I'll begin with my conclusion: READ THIS BOOK :)

That said, why the lukewarm rating? This book was captivating to say the least. In a world of rampant Islamophobia, more people need to understand the rise of the Talib. The best way to overcome irrational, ignorant fear is to walk a mile in the shoes of a stranger. In this novel, this stranger happens to be Rukhsana, a strikingly likable girl.

Murari was an expert at building tension and handling the most frightening scenes. I would give five star...more
Lisa
I loved this book. Just an amazing story... Such a strange storyline. Again showed the courage of humanity when in adversity.
Lisa
I really enjoyed reading this book. I think I might have read about it at The Asian Review of Books ...

As their review says, sport and religion do occasionally mix, but surely the oddest example of that must be when Afghanistan under the Taliban introduced cricket in an effort to soften its brutal international image. This novel lampoons the initiative while also illustrating the tragedy of life under the Taliban and the reasons why the regime's reputation is so richly deserved.

Rukhsana is a jou...more
Sally
A book on cricket! In a library in western New York! Of course I was going to read it. And I liked it because of the cricket. The plot was straight forward. Afghani woman teaches her male relatives how to play cricket because the Taliban want to be accepted in the world. The winners of a Taliban-sponsored cricket tournament will get training in Pakistan, which to the family means escape.

However, there are some downsides to the book.

Firstly, can a male author ever fully get inside the mind of an...more
Rishi Prakash
Absolutely amazing...it captures the life in Afganistan so well that you will end up living it literally! I won't have read this book if not for my dear friend and what a great book it turned out to be :-)
I really feel sad for a normal Afganistan citizen after reading this book...life can be so tough for someone living in the same continent as us is just unbelievable. The worst part is the life of a female there..i don't think it can get worst. This country has been in the news for all the wrong...more
Harsha Priolkar

“They banned music, movies, television, computers, picnics, and wedding parties. No New Years’s celebrations, or any kind of mixed-sex gathering; no children’s toys, including dolls and kites, card and board games or chess. No more cameras, or photographs, or paintings of people and animals. No more pet parakeets, cigarettes and alcohol, magazines and newspapers and most books. People were no allowed to be with or talk to foreigners. People could not applaud, not that there was anything to clap...more
Katy Noyes
Bend it Like Beckham set on an Afghan cricket pitch? Well, not quite. Females playing a sport that their religion forbids? Check. Feisty and intelligent heroine who loves the sport? Check.

There's a very real element of danger here that is foreign (excuse the pun) to BILB.

Rukhsana is (or was) a journalist, reporting on human rights atrocities by the now-ruling Taliban. Forced out of her job and into a hijab, she can only leave the house escorted by a male family member.

Still writing stories un...more
Nick
The Taliban Cricket Club is one weird novel, packaging a comic story of trying to create a cricketing culture in the desert against the daily oppression of people - particularly women - in a fundamentalist Islamic state.

When former female journalist Rukhsana is called to a press conference to announce the establishment of a cricket tournament, with the winners being taken to Pakistan for training, she hatches a plan for her many cousins to escape from Pakistan. The trouble is, Rukhsana doesn't k...more
Kelly
This book was so difficult to read, and I mean that in the best possible way. There was so much fear and tension in the life of the main character, Rukhsana. The author does an amazing job helping the reader feel the daily fear for Rukhsana and her family without inundating the reader with overwhelming amounts of violence and shock value. The backdrop of a cricket match was an interesting choice as the author used it as a way to contrast the value system of the Taliban, with its culture of fear,...more
Kaitlyn
Although I wanted to give this book 4 stars, I'm trying to be picky so when I do find books that blow me away or are at least VERY good, it's more accurate. That being said, The Taliban Cricket Club was a wonderful read and also a very easy and quick read. Some of the plot lines and characters were predictable, but overall, Murari weaves an inspiring tale of a strong and fearless Afghani woman living among the male-dominated regime of the Taliban. Set in early 2000, I was happy that she didn't t...more
Bigsna
I really enjoyed reading this book and I'm glad I found it. A simple and well written tale of hope and courage in a time and place of utter violence and disbelief.
The Taliban are a harsh reality of Afghanistan and every time I read about their actions towards people and against women, it is hard for me to believe that such a place and group of people exists in this time and age too.
The story flows well and does take a few unexpected turns when you think now you've figured out how it will unrave...more
Cherie In the Dooryard
I...I don't know how I feel. It's about life under Taliban rule, but it's a light read. It gives great insight into being an Afghan woman, but only as she pretends to be a man. It's (loosely, very loosely) based on a true event, but it's completely unbelievable. I couldn't stop rolling my eyes, but I also compulsively read it. It fully explains cricket in excruciating detail, and yet I still don't understand the game. Read it, I guess? And don't question too much?

Odd book.
Indra Saha
Great concept, terribly written! For the first time I was aware a man was writing from the point of view of a woman, because the language and emotions were very off base.

The insider's view of life in Taliban Kabul, especially as an independent woman is quite intriguing. I thought in the hands of a more skilled author, this would have been an amazing read.

The love story, though was way too contrived, and Bollywood-ish.
Miwa
This is a fictional account on how the Taliban had applied for membership to the International Cricket Council in 2000. The ICC did not respond to this request until 2001 when the regime had been toppled and now Afghanistan plays in international tournaments, an affiliate member of the ICC as well as has female cricket and soccer teams.

The book summarizes what life was before and during the height of the Taliban regime. One of my favorite excerpts from the books is:

"This was once a city of music...more
Michelle
An ode to the sport of cricket, and a story that describes life in Afghanistan under the Taliban. It's hard to read of such injustice and wretchedness in the news, easier somehow to udnerstand it in a work of fiction. Slightly predictable and cliched end - love triumphs over all - but heart warming. A story a bit like cricket - relatively gentle but with the occasional wallop :)
Kimber Vaughan
A light-hearted story that sheds hope on dark times in Afghanistan; the story captures many aspects of Afghan life for women and their families and plays on a brief time in history when cricket was allowed in the country. Somewhat predictable characters and plot, the relationships and comradery keep you rooting for survival and escape for Rukhsana and her family.
Bachyboy
A really good read. Rukshana is a spirited young journalist in Kabul who struggles, as all women did, under the rule of the Taliban. When a cricket tournament is announced, she and her team see it as their one opportunity to escape Afghanistan. The idea of course is ludicrous as no-one can play cricket! Lots of drama, emotion, love and energy.
Crisanne Werner
One of the most riveting books I have ever read. This is a fictional, but shockingly realistic, window into the world of women under the Taliban and the glimmer of hope that the sport of Cricket brought. The danger and adventure kept me on the edge of my seat up until the very last page.
Anne Ryan
Although we all "know" that life in modern Afghanistan must be terrible, this book offers a glimpse into the restrictive, unjust and horrific lives of the Afghani women through the eyes of Rukhsana. She is in her twenties and a one-time journalist, educated in India, who is now trapped inside a Muslim burqa. She has insisted on staying in Afghanistan to care for her dying Mother and is in danger of being seized by the authorities for her views, as well as forced to marry the current Taliban Misn...more
Joanne
Loved this book. I cannot believe that a culture/group can be so awful...the way the Taliban treats women is truly horrific! I found it interesting that the male author could write so well from the female perspective.
Sue
Such a wonderful story of fearlessness, despair, hope, disappointment - so many emotions. The author creates a vivid picture of life in Kabul, and I couldn't help but be drawn into the characters lives.
Liam
Anyone with a firm view of their policy on Asylum would be well served in reading this book. Along with Khaled Hosseini's books on Afghanistan, Murari paints a livid picture of the severe oppression faced by multiple generations in Afghanistan. In this story, the protagonist is an unlikely Kabul girl who's surprising knowledge of the game of cricket presents a rare opportunity for her family to escape the Taliban regime. As a lover of cricket myself, this was a nice twist added to the tale. Yet...more
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Timeri Murari is an award winning writer, filmmaker, and playwright, who began his career as journalist on the Kingston Whig Standard in Ontario, Canada. He writes for the Guardian, Sunday Times, and other magazines and newspapers internationally. He has published both fiction and non-fiction, and his bestselling novel, Taj, was translated into 19 lanugages and has recently been reissued by Pengui...more
More about Timeri N. Murari...
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