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A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story
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A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story

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4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  1,356 ratings  ·  281 reviews
The surprising, stunning book that took the publishing world by storm: a coming-of-age memoir of unimaginable perils and unexpected joys, steeped in the rhythms of folk tales and poetry, that is as unforgettable as it is rare--a treasure for readers.

Qais Akbar Omar was born in Kabul in a time of relative peace. Until he was 7, he lived with his father, a high school physic
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Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 16th 2013 by Knopf Canada (first published 2013)
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Barb
As an American, I find that our understanding of other countries is shaped by the media and conventional wisdom that distorts our view of world events. Only by reading does a clearer image, deeper understanding and the realization of human universal truths emerge. "A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story" by Qais Akbar Omar is one of the most powerful books I've read in years. Definitely my top book for 2013 and one that I will recommend to everyone. Omar's memoir of his family's passage t ...more
Julie

"I have long carried this load of griefs in the cage of my heart. Now I have given them to you. I hope you are strong enough to hold them." Qais Akbar Omar


Wow. A load of griefs is an understatement! This tale of life in Afghanistan written by one who lived through it all and triumphed is riveting. I am truly inspired by the positivity and love of life that comes through on every page in spite of the mind boggling hardships this family endured.

I laughed and I cried through this amazing life story
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Sandra
Toda a gente devia de ler este livro. Estou a falar a sério!

Não é um livro fácil de ler (emocionalmente) mas ao acabá-lo sinto-me enriquecida. Sinto mesmo que perdi parte de mim nesta leitura, talvez um pouco da inocência que ainda persistia em mim, mas o que ganhei é muito superior.

Este livro ficou com um pedaço de mim, mas eu fiquei com parte dele na minha mente e no meu coração.

Quando o autor no final do livro nos diz "Há muito que trago este fardo de sofrimentos aprisionado no meu coração.
Ag
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Scott Rhee
It's difficult to even imagine what life is like in a country ravaged by constant civil war, government coups, and militant uprising. Certainly, the United States is not perfect. We have our own sources of strife and political upheaval, but we can all pray to our respective deities that the horrors of Afghanistan have not yet found its way to our city streets on the scale that Afghanis face on a daily basis. When a trip to the store for milk means possibly never seeing one's family ever again, c ...more
Nahil Sherzoy
I just finished A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story by Qais Akbar Omar and gave it 5 stars.
This nonfiction, heart wrenching story is a MUST READ for all. I say this because it gives a crystal clear perspective of life in Afghanistan during the civil war and, the aftermath. Mr. Akbar's journey is harrowing yet unforgettable.
This book needs to be read in schools around the world bc I believe it will change people. It will open their eyes to the true history of Afghanistan and the suffe
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Mikey B.
This is a book of epic proportions. It is an autobiography of a child’s upbringing in Afghanistan. The scope and the encounters are breathtaking. Despite the anguish he, his family, and his country have undergone the author writes with great tenderness.

We begin with the end of the Soviet occupation of Afghanistan. Due to the chaos of the warring factions in Kabul his family are forced to leave the ancestral home – which becomes taken over by thugs. They try unsuccessfully a few times to return t
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Melinda
"I have long carried this load of griefs in the cage of my heart. Now I have given them to you. I hope you are strong enough to hold them." Qais Akbar Omar


Qasis shares his unforgettable story of a simple loving family and a country in endless turmoil and conflict. His family is torn apart by the destruction war brings as well as its hideous atrocities committed against its own people based on religious and tribal differences.

Afghanistan is a country misunderstood and its culture is sufferin
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Jeanette
Whew! This is Qais detailing his life in Afghanistan from about 1992 until just recently. He is 10 at the beginning and his family lives in Kabul in his Grandfather's house/ compound. No further synopsis, just a reaction.

Finally, I have some idea about the real crux of Afghanistan's instability and decades of war. Civil War prime actually, with more than just a couple of opponents is only one set of factors. And not based in just religious differences at all, but also in tribal, economic, cultur
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Joana
Não é um livro de fácil digestão e talvez por isso tenha demorado tanto tempo a lê-lo. Ao retratar as últimas três décadas da história recente do Afeganistão, com epicentro em Cabul, nesta autobiografia o autor coloca-nos perante a crueldade e desumanidade que um cenário de guerra alimenta.

Está é a história de um menino que se faz adolescente e homem durante sucessivos conflitos, que o levaram a si e à sua numerosa família numa fuga mal sucedida por todo o Afeganistão.

Faz-nos pensar que o nosso
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Denise
I read a review of this book that said, "if you read only one book this summer, make it this one" . I heeded that advice and I am so glad I did. The author, Quais Akbar Omar, writes of growing up in a country that has been ravaged by war for years. His writing style is simple and beautiful, poetic at times. The tale that he tells of his familiy's survival adventures are amazing, horrifying, inspiring and unforgettable. His father and mother are nothing short of heroic. I always thought of Afghan ...more
VaultOfBooks
By Qais Akbar Omar. Grade: B+

Sitting in the comforts of our rooms, we feel that life is so tough. But there is an entire world out which lives on an entirely different plane – a world where people live in limitations, in a seemingly endless scarcity of resources. When such tales of despair come across, it surprises as well as pains the heart making it yearn for the one on the other side. But these tales also bring with them hope – a hope of human perseverance’s victory against all odds, over all
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Natalie Pavlis
I have not been so moved by a book in a long while. Nine Towers contains within its' pages stories of the best and, sadly, the worst of humanity. His story has given me a new perspective on Afghanistan. For anyone who loves the books of Khalid Hosseini, this book is a must read! But, it is all the more beautiful, heart- wrenching, and hopeful (compared to Hosseini's novels) because it is true.
MaryJane Rings
A story that won't be broadcast by the media or written in a history text but tells a wonderful story of the Afghan people, their lifestyles, family loyalty, kindness to others,their spirit and perseverance. They endured more physical,emotional and mental abuse than the average American could even begin to imagine. The physical torture, beatings and whippings alone are unbearable to read about but feeling the horror is something indescribable. Through it all they were able to rise above their to ...more
Teresa
It is hard not to think of "The Kiterunner" when reading this book. What makes this story different is that it is true. Qais Akbar Omar describes his life in Afghanistan from age 10 through age 19. It is an amazing story told beautifully through the eyes of a child and emerging young adult. Beginning with his life in Kabul before the political unrest, we see a loving, prosperous, joyous family. Then he describes the night when everything he has known changes. His family flees their home for surv ...more
Diane Yannick
Afghanistan was constantly besieged by civil wars and horrendous Taliban actions during the decade from 1992-2002. Quais describes many of the atrocities he witnessed, yet he holds on to his love for his homeland and his family. Kites, rug weaving, and family love contrast with the brutal savagery of the fighting and Taliban rules. Quais' family is constantly trying to find safe places to live until they can return to what's left of their home. Going to school was often not an option but the fam ...more
Melissa
This book is perfection. It excels on different levels.
Qais' memoir is, first and foremost, a memoir of a man living though one of the biggest, hardest to comprehend conflicts of our age. He gives the reader a poignant and personal view of events that pulls away the clouded view all the political posturing of reporting that modern reporting gives to readers in the Western world. This book gives us that, but in addition, if gives us the story of a family and city as utterly perplexed as Western
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DubaiReader
A powerful read.

This book certainly packed a punch!
An autobiographical story of a young boy's life in Afghanistan, from the final days of Communism, through civil war and the Mujahideen war lords, to the rise of the Taliban. His is a wealthy, well educated family, who must leave behind their home and wealth to escape the rocket attacks between neighbouring factions of the Mujahideen.

They pile sixteen family members into the car and drive the five miles to a friend's house, known as the Fort of N
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Miss GP
A Fort of Nine Towers is the first-person account of Omar's childhood and teen years in war-torn Afghanistan. He grew up during an especially turbulent time in the country's history, witnessing the departure of the occupying Russian troops, the ensuing civil war that inflicted incredible hardship on the population as the mujahedeen sought to fill the vacuum, the subsequent takeover by the Taliban, and finally their ouster by the foreign coalition formed after 9/11.

This is not the best written b
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Lisa Ann (Ketsy)
Feb 04, 2015 Lisa Ann (Ketsy) rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: Those who read Memoirs, Interested in True Life Experience Stories
Recommended to Lisa Ann (Ketsy) by: Goodreads First Reads
A Fort of Nine Towers is Qais Akbar Omar's heartbreaking and inspiring true revelations about the turmoil and trauma he, and his family, experienced over the course of 12 or so years of great upheaval in his homeland of Afghanistan. This novel is truly eye opening, life changing, and searing to the heart, but is told with no embellishment, no tools to create unnecessary drama, the stark and honest tone of Qais's story is rending to the heart and spirit. At many points, the reader has to wonder h ...more
Laura Caisley
I found this book full of despair and of hope in a very turbulent time in Afghanistan. Qais Akbar Omar and his family (including numerous aunts,uncles, cousins and grandfather) are forced to endure the many horrors of war, including Qais and his father being tortured in prison. In order to keep their family safe, Qais and his family flee Kabul and live a nomadic life staying with relatives in far other cities in Afghanistan. Qais and his family want to return to their home as soon as they feel i ...more
Jan
A Fort Of Nine Towers is the memoir of Qais Akbar Omar's life between the ages of eleven and adulthood, a period in Afghan history of great turmoil. This book is actually two separate stories: the first a warm and often poetic tale of Qais' life within his large extended family and the second a brutal narration of the savage and senseless happenings when he falls into the power of first, the Mujahedin and their civil wars, and then the Taliban. The entwining of these two threads is what I feel m ...more
Gábor
This book has multiple layers of stories. The story of Afghanistan, spiraling into civil war through the Mujahideen and Taliban takeovers. The story of an upper-middle class family of bankers, teachers, carpet merchants falling into destitution, and robbed of most of their possessions. And the story of the author who survives several extortion kidnappings, travels his country while a civil war is in full force, lives in the head of the later blown up Buddha statues, travels with nomads, learns c ...more
Alym
A personal look at the last three decades of life in Afghanistan starting from when the author was a young boy. A very readable account of the ups and downs of life in this war-torn country. Positive, despite all the negatives and beautifully descriptive.
Angela Juline
I loved the author's last lines:

I have long carried this load of griefs in the cage of my heart. Now I have given them to you. I hope you are strong enough to hold them.


We hear about the Taliban and Afghanistan, but his story is much more than living through that regime...it details the different factions that have fought for control starting from when he is a young boy.
Marie
I cried tears of joy and tears of great sadness. I care about this author as if he is part of my family. I feel differently about Afghans (perhaps, more accurately, I now have an opinion and feelings about Afghans). I know there are pages that I skipped because I felt such pain for the lack of humanity. I will get back and read those middle pages -- I promise. How did he write so matter-of-factly and yet with such depth of emotion? I'm still pondering it all.
Roya
Qais Akbar Omar's memoir is a harrowing perspective into a young boy's quest for survival with his family during the war of the warlords that ensued in the 1990s. This is an informative companion to Khaled's novels- (The KiteRunner, A Thousand Splendid Suns, and And the Mountains Echoed). Powerful page turner- literally could not put it down and am haunted by Omar's experiences.
Cathy
One of the most beautiful and poetic memoirs I've ever read. It's hard to understand how such a harrowing story can still be uplifting. Omar tells the story of his family's journey through decades of war, torture, and civil in-fighting while never losing sight of the power of family bonds and the sustaining nature of the arts and philosophical principles. A miraculous book.
Deirdre
Omar is an amazing writer, but an even more amazing person for living through the tragedies he and his family suffered through 30 years of infighting and Taliban rule. His story left me with a sense of hopefulness.
Megan Highfill
This is an incredible book. I kept thinking things like, "unbelievable" and "extraordinary", quickly forgetting that this is a memoir and real life for so many in Afghanistan. Qais's love for his family, his dedication to his country, and his anger and frustration with Afghanistan's turmoil is the first real account I've ever read about life there. Beginning with the wars between factions after the Russians were driven out, following through the Taliban's reign and America's bombings, Qais gives ...more
Janet Damon
I loved this book. It picked me up and carried me a thousand miles away to a world that simultaneously ruthless and magical; where a stranger might call you blood and then save your whole family from death, while another demands hair from your armpit for measurement and possibly imprisonment. It’s a book that made me hold my breath, sometimes even closing the cover and praying for him before reading the next page.

A Fort of Nine Towers is the biography of Qais Adbar Omar and shares his family’s
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Qais Akbar Omar (whose first name is pronounced "Kice") is the author of A Fort of Nine Towers, which has been published in over twenty languages.

Omar was born in 1982 in Kabul, Afghanistan. He holds a BA in journalism from Kabul University. He studied business at Brandeis University and holds an MFA in Creative Writing from Boston University. In 2007, he was a visiting scholar at the University
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More about Qais Akbar Omar...
Shakespeare in Kabul A Fort of Nine Towers Kaboul était un vaste jardin A Night in the Emperor’s Garden: A True Story Die Festung der neun Türme: Die Geschichte meiner afghanischen Familie

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“I have long carried this load of griefs in the cage of my heart. Now I have given them to you. I hope you are strong enough to hold them.” 11 likes
“In the time before the fighting, before the rockets, before the warlords and their false promises, before the sudden disappearance of so many people we knew to graves or foreign lands, before the Taliban and their madness, before the smell of death hung daily in the air and the ground was soaked in blood, we lived well.” 5 likes
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