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Fear of Beauty

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3.8 of 5 stars 3.80  ·  rating details  ·  100 ratings  ·  21 reviews
The battered body of an Afghan boy is found at the base of a cliff outside a remote village in Afghanistan. Did he fall as most of the villagers think? Or is this the work of American soldiers, as others want to believe? Sofi, illiterate, is desperate to learn the truth behind her son's death. Extremists move in and offer to roust the infidels from the region, adding new p ...more
Paperback, 300 pages
Published January 15th 2013 by Seventh Street Books (first published January 1st 2013)
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The Watch by Joydeep Roy-BhattacharyaThe Kite Runner by Khaled HosseiniA Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled HosseiniBurnt Shadows by Kamila ShamsieKhost by Vincent Hobbes
Afghan-fiction
11th out of 46 books — 44 voters
Ordinary Grace by William Kent KruegerGhostman by Roger HobbsDuel with the Devil by Paul  CollinsFear of Beauty by Susan FroetschelSandrine's Case by Thomas H. Cook
2014 Edgar Nominees
4th out of 42 books — 5 voters


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Community Reviews

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Kristen Elise
In her latest novel, Fear of Beauty, Susan Froetschel juxtaposes the plight of an illiterate Afghani housewife trying to solve her son's murder with the mission of a nearby Army outpost to bolster the Afghanistan farming economy. The story is told from two very different perspectives, each weaving an independent subplot into the story. The first perspective is from Sofi, the uniquely curious mother of five who believes literacy will be the key to understanding what happened to her oldest son, Al ...more
Holly
Fear of Beauty IS a beauty.
I won this book through a giveaway and boy am I glad I did. From the very first moment my attention was captured.
We follow the story both through Sofi, an Afghan woman, tired of the chains around her simply because she's a woman and through Joey, an American soldier. Both sides show how hard it is to come to the table and put aside the huge differences that arise from different cultures, and yet, there is hope for understanding and change. Throw in a little bit of myst
...more
Debbie
Fear of Beauty is set in Afghanistan. The son of an Afghan woman dies and sets in motion a tale of intrigue. Villagers blame the death on the Americans, while the Americans blame it on the villagers, and tensions increase. Sofi, being very shrewd, follows her gut and searches for the truth.

Susan Froetschel describes a multitude of things, especially the limited life of an Afghan woman, with details many here in the US are not aware. Not only are women prohibited from appearing in public, but a
...more
Suzanne
A very interesting read with an excellent story. Introduces you to a way of life, and a way of thinking of that life, that is so different to our western ways. Admirable people on both sides of the 'divide' as well as terrible people on both sides. The author was deliberately balanced in that portrayal. Who is the most righteous is in the eye of the beholder.

The only reason I didn't give it four stars is I found it really difficult to accept the sophisticated philosophical thinking of the main c
...more
Joe Malley
The true test of the modern socio political theme in Fear of Beauty is the feeling one gets that not only an American can empathize with the portrayal of the Afghans in the book, but also I believe an Afghan reader could empathize with the Americans in the book. This an accomplishment seldom achieved in modern context. I enjoyed reading this book. It is a good book.
Allen Eskens
One of the best compliments a book can receive is to say that the story transports the reader to another place. When I read a novel, I want to be immersed in the culture of the story. I want to taste their food, hear the cadence of their speech, smell the dust on their clothing. That's what Susan Froetschel has done with Fear of Beauty. Froetschel's story of an Afghan woman torn between her desire to be more than what her culture dictates and her loyalties to her family, her village is a wonderf ...more
Maddy
PROTAGONIST: US Army Special Ranger, Joey Pearson, and Afghan villager, Sofi
SETTING: Afghanistan
RATING: 4.0
WHY: The US Army has set up a training facility in Afghanistan for the purpose of working with Afghans to improve their economy. Their role is to serve as advisors, rather than dictators. However, local villages don't always trust them. Told from the point of view of a US Army Special Ranger and a young mother in a remote village in Helmand Province, FEAR OF BEAUTY reveals how complicated t
...more
Jen
I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

Loved the tension in both the outpost between the "Monsanto" crusader, the jaded military commander and the optimistic Agricultural head. Which was mirrored in the village tension between the protagonist, her best friend and the interloper.

What moved my rating down one notch was my skepticism of how much real life Afghan experience the author had. I wasn't convinced from reading her acknowledgements that she could have an authentic appreciation of what an Afghani
...more
Rose Mary Achey
Most American’s know very little about Afghanistan, just what we see on the TV news concerning the suicide bombers and Taliban extremists. Fear of Beauty is the story about an Afghan woman living in a remote mountain village. On the morning her eldest son is scheduled to depart for school, he is found dead with the cause of his death questionable.

This book had such a great premise, but the story failed to deliver. Transitions from one event to another were awkward. The character development was
...more
Susie Cameron
A thought-provoking novel told through the eyes of an Afghan woman and a US special forces soldier. The author Susan Froetschel skilfully illustrates daily life in the village while presenting complex cultural perspectives from religious, philosophical to psychological. I found the novel succeeded in particular on the internal, psychological/cognitive level of Sofi, the Afghan woman and her frame if reference. For me it demonstrated how much influence our culture and experience limits our abilit ...more
Joyce
I'm intrigued with books about the Middle East, so this book kept my interest. In addition to conveying details about village life in Afghanistan and family structure, Froetschel explored the relationship between beauty (defined in many ways) and individual freedom of thought. Her book brings the Afghan culture to life, making clear why the "hearts and minds" campaign of the US has been difficult. The book appears well-researched, but it would be good to hear reviews by those who have traveled e ...more
Katie
This book started out great, but gradually descended into a pretty lackluster climax, with the author starting to rely on a few too many platitudes. The love story was stilted and the whole "abduction" scene seemed pretty unrealistic. However, I did like the author's portrayal of women, and the subject matter was fascinating. The book also saved me from dying of boredom on an endless flight, so it will always have my appreciation for that reason alone.
Carolyn Schriber
Breath-taking! Susan Froetschel has given us a look a the enigma of Afghanistan from the point of view of a native woman. I was fascinated to realize how many common problems she shared with women all over the world -- and how much of her experience was unique to the land in which she lived. The life of this woman moved me to care more about the Afghani situation than any amount of military/political discussion has ever been able to do.
Erin
Mar 14, 2013 Erin added it
This book is truly worthy of your time. When intricacies of an Afghan village collide with death and the Americans you're not sure which direction this book is going to take you. It was far from predictable and detailed with such beauty you could actually picture the desolate mountain surrounded by hard to survive vegetation. The exposure to the death indirectly steered this book and you don't realize it until the end. Well done!
Laurel
This story is told from two points of view, that of an American soldier in charge of security for an agriculture assistance program in Afghanistan, and that of an Afghan woman grieving the somewhat mysterious death of her son. A terrific description of life in an Afghan village and the lack of trust on both sides.
Jean
This new novel that takes place in a remote village in the outback of Afghanistan is not only informative but shows the power of women helping women. For those of you who would like just a bit of real insider info about this unusual and unique country, this is your book.
Judy Watts
This book is a very well researched and descriptively written account of women's lives in Afghanistan. I could not put it down and finished very early in the morning one night. I highly recommend it.
Irja Finn
Not my usual type of book, the military stuff was sort of tedious, however very rich descriptions of village life for women in Afghanistan. I liked it!
Nina Briggs
Sofi found out that the U.S. troop killed her son. Sofi was heart broken when she found out the troops killed her son, she seemed to be more shocked than anything. She was scared to find out it was a murder, she was hoping it wasn't as bad as it was like it was just a accident. This is true because in the text " I couldn't believe it. I sat in disbelieve. starring at the wall, until I could form words. 'He's gone, they took my baby.' I let the flood of tears run down my face, didn't move my hand ...more
Mrs. Baker
A really fascinating book from the dual perspectives of an army ranger and an Afghani woman. Highly recommend!
Rock Angel
An illiterate Afghan woman defies her husband and societal pressures to investigate the death of her son
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Susan Froetschel is the author of five mystery books. The most recent is Allure of Deceit, set in rural Afghanistan, about charity and development aid and how lying is a form of self-defense.
More about Susan Froetschel...
Royal Escape Alaska Gray Interruptions (An Alaskan Mystery) Allure of Deceit A World Connected: Globalization in the 21st Century

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