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A Million Walls

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4.0 of 5 stars 4.00  ·  rating details  ·  1,447 ratings  ·  213 reviews

A moving tale of the triumph of the human spirit amidst heartbreaking tragedy, told through the eyes of a charming, impish, and wickedly observant Afghan boy

The Taliban have withdrawn from Kabul’s streets, but the long shadows of their regime remain. In his short life, eleven-year-old Fawad has known more grief than most: his father and brother have been killed, his siste

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Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Henry Holt & Company (first published January 1st 2009)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Tea Jovanović
Ova knjiga me je podsetila na "Lovca na zmajeve" i zato ju je Marso objavio... Nema Hoseinijevu jačinu ali je interesantna...
Jeff
You know the old adage about the “sum being greater than the whole of its parts?” Well, “Born Under a Million Shadows” is one of those books, for me, where the individual parts are much greater than the sum. This highly praised coming of age story has it all – rich multicultural details, a fascinating socio-political landscape, colorful characters, unexpected humor, and touching moments of beauty, tenderness, and domesticity. Why, then, did I find the book completely unaffecting? The entire time ...more
Stephanie D.
In Born under a Million Shadows, Andrea Busfield does several things well that make this novel work for me: First and foremost - she effectively conveys a fascination and beauty of a country which in my mind had so far been equated with images of war and burkas. Upon reading Fawad's story and those of his friends and family - I feel that I've been properly acquainted with Afghanistan now.

Busfield is a journalist who has traveled to Afghanistan and in her author's notes (in the back of the book)
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Meera
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Leigh Hancock
Third in my Afghani series. Getting past the title was hard (where was the editor on that one?) and the first chapter or two read like a first novel (which it is) by someone writing outside her culture. I had a hard time at first believing the narrator was male (i.e, separate from author), but once we got past those tiny bits of housekeeping, a real story began to evolve. I started enjoying the Afghan names (Haji Khan, for instance, which I sometimes read aloud just because it was fun) and Spand ...more
Claire Hessing
This was kind of a coming-of-age story about a boy in Afghanistan. I thought it was going to be good but I just didn't care for it. I didn't like the narrative voice because I thought it was completely unbelievable -- there wasn't a good balance between childhood naivete and the 'grown-up' kind of insights in a coming-of-age story. I ended up just being bored by it. And the ending... way too much of a fairytale to sit well with me.
Suze
This book truly capivated me! It's charming, funny, informative, heart-warming and at times a little sad.

Amazon describes it like this:
"A moving tale of the triumph of the human spirit amidst heartbreaking tragedy, told through the eyes of a charming, impish, and wickedly observant Afghan boy."

It's all true. I love the way the author looked at everything through the eyes of an intelligent, observant, caring 11 year old boy. I smiled, I laughed out loud and I cried while reading this book. Afgha
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Kasa Cotugno
By choosing to have this story told through the eyes of an 11 year old boy, Andrea Busfield is able to infuse the tale with a sense of discovery. However, this being Afghanistan where childhood is over too soon, there is a worldliness to his observations that may seem beyond someone of his youth. The story does flag in spots, but these lapses are soon overcome. Busfield's obvious respect for this country and her people is evident with every character. Highly recommend.
Aspasia
Fawad is a preteen boy in modern-day Afghanistan. He has only known the horror of war, first by the Taliban and now the occupying forces of the West. When his widowed mother gets a job cooking and cleaning for three Westerners, Fawad gets a first-hand look at the strange customs and lifestyle that the occupiers are bringing to his homeland. Despite the foreigners' strangeness, Fawad and his mother come to appreciate and love James, May, and Georgie.
James is a lazy, drunken journalist, but has a
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Tara Chevrestt
I thought this was a story about life in Afghanistan after the Taliban... and it is, sorta. The story is told from eleven year old Fawad's point of view. He is a delightful boy. His narrative is full of innocent, overly wise observations about life, women, and people in general. Basically the kid voices things we all think at some point in our life, but never say. I had quite a few laugh out moments, escpecially when Fawad thought about women, Christmas, lesbians, having the squirts.. funny stuf ...more
DubaiReader
Wonderfully balanced book.

I listened to the unabridged audio version of this book during a recent long journey and the miles flew by. The author has hit just that perfect balance between putting across a serious message and making a book entertaining. For a book set in Afghanistan it has some wonderfully humorous momnents too.

Fawad is an 11yr old boy, living with his mother in an aunt's house. His father and two brothers are dead and no-one knows what has become of his sister since she was abduc
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Heather
Fawad is a charming boy. Smart, good-humored, brave and strong, you find yourself praying that life goes well for him. I mean, things are stacked against him, and you really want him to find a way to have everything he dreams of.

This book portrays the complex and dark beauty of Afghanistan's face, as well as its dark underbelly. At times you find yourself in awe at the kindness of the people, the love they have for their country, their humor and passion. At other times you cringe at the cruelty
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Huda
When I first saw the book in borders, I read that it was written by a British journalist, and that made me judge it. An outsider, that was my first thought.
I started the book with no expectations, and as I progressed through the book I didn't really find any character to be original or one that I found real, except perhaps Fawad's mother. She has been through a lot and yet she's survived and her main concern in life is her son, I found her most believable. As for her son, Fawad, I found him to
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Maliha Fatima
Loved it. Fawad is such a clever boy. Beautiful tale of the Afgan people cohabitating with Westerners. The reader gets to know what life is like through the eyes of a boy that has seen nothing but the war. Fawad finds beauty in an war-torn country and finds ways to enjoy life. He makes you want to rethink the amenities that you have and reconsider the outlook you have on your own life. Andrea Busfield really shows the reader the beautiful side of Afghanistan: The people! No matter how bad the wa ...more
Lorriezm
A beautifully written story about the life of a young boy growing up in Afghanistan after the fall of the Taliban. The title...a million shadows...describes perfectly how the Taliban has affected the life of the people there.

Andrea Busfield's writing is beautiful, amazingly descriptive. She makes you feel comfortable and a part of the country and the people there. She makes you smile as you follow Fawad and his understanding of the world around him. She creates a deep sadness within you as you
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Nicola
For the most part, I really enjoyed this one. It did start to drag a little towards the end- the story just wasn't going anywhere for the last bit- but mostly, I thought it was great. I thought Fawad's character was very lovable, and his point of view was fascinating. I loved watching him discover how different things were between his world and Georgie's and how puzzling some things appeared to him. I found all the character's really interesting and I liked how they interacted with each other. I ...more
Alison
I loved this book! I dare you not to fall in love with the eleven-year-old boy, Fawad, who narrates the story. He is intelligent, mature and funny. It's not often that my kids are giving me strange looks because I'm laughing out loud as I read a book. This is not what I expected when I picked up a novel about war-torn Afghanistan. Telling a story through the innocent eyes of a child introduces the reader to a side of this country that we don't hear about in the news. Fawad's perception of the We ...more
Brooke
So far I dislike and like the book at the same time. At first I felt like the book created unnecessary drama like when Fawad and Jahid are trying to figure out who Haji really is but then later on in the book you realize why they tried to find out his true identity. What I liked about the book was how Georgie, James and May all accepted Fawad and his mother into their home and treated them like family. I thought they might have just treated them like servants because Fawads mother was now workin ...more
Dhruvil Shah
The book, Born Under a Million Shadows, is a very good book. There are many reasons for this. One reason is the setting. The setting of the book is located in Afghanistan. Since the setting of the book is in Afghanistan, the reader gets to learn more about life as an Afghan and the culture there. While reading the book, the reader learns that the main character, Fawad, and his family live off of stolen money. This teaches the reader about the conditions of the country and the families that live ...more
Anne
Recommended by a former student. Although it's categorized as adult, definitely has potential for teen audiences as the main character is young.

Set in Kabul after the Taliban have withdrawn. Fawad and his mother Mariya end up working for 3 Westerners, one of whom is in a relationship with an Afghani man. Lots of great interactions, revelations of culture. Characters are well-developed. Plot is also well-developed and keeps moving and leaves the reader wanting to know what will happen next.
Shanna
Loved this book!! Fawad is a sweet and inquisitive little boy who you just loving following page after page. He charms you right from the beginning as he experiences love,loss and life living in Afghanistan. The author shows you the everyday life of Afghan's and yet puts an interesting "Western" twist to it all which is done, I think, extremely well. Fawad will keep you entertained right to the end. A must read!
Paula
An entertaining read. I wanted to give it 3 and a half stars for three reasons. The first was that a western outsider wrote it, and while she seems to have a lot of experience in Afghanistan, I would prefer to read a tale of Afghanistan written by an Afghan. My bigger issue was that Fawad, the young narrator of the story, sounded much, much older than his 10 years. I absolutely believe that he is extremely intelligent and mature for his age due to all of his life experience. It was kind of unbel ...more
Deb
Loved this book! It truly "captures the home and humanity of the Afghan people and the foreigners who live among them." Born Under a Million Shadows is beautifully written and easy to read; opens your eyes & heart to current day Afghanistan.
R.K
I fell in love with this book. Well, perhaps not at first. The first chapter did not really speak to me, as the fun only started after the second where Fawid and his mother moves out. I found myself rereading a lot of the paragraphs, not because I didn't understand them, but because they were so greatly written that their spark never left even when I read it a third time. Let me tell you, I read this book the entire night, and the amount of times I laughed surely surprised me. The writing really ...more
Susy
A wonderful, insightful tale. I cared about the characters;Fawad was such a delight. The observations of life and perspectives of the Afghan people were thought provoking. I'm looking forward to her next novel.
Baljit
This novel had a few poignant moments, but having read many books set in Afghanistan, this one didn't really strike an emotional chord. It has a lighter tone and a feel good theme.
Alexandra
I knew I was going to love this book, but not this much.
I love the characters SO MUCH: Fawad, Georgie, Spandi, James, Pir Hederi. And I love how much this book made me laugh, of course I cried a little but it has such a great sense of humour.
Georgie and Fawad's relationship is precious. I love how the author can bring up so well the personality of an eleven-year-old boy who has seen too much for his age. Fawad is an awesome main character.
I really enjoyed the fact that we could see so well the c
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Meg
this was a beautifully written book about life in Afghanastan after the Taliban
Jenny Courville
Hurry up, Heather! We want to know what you think :)
Kate
This review can now be found on The Chicago Tribune's Signature Club webpage by clicking or copying and pasting this link into your browser:
http://tinyurl.com/yahbspq

Also, an abbreviated piece will be published in this Saturday's (1/16/10) Chicago Tribune printed edition. I'm very excited!

What did you love about the book?
Eleven year old Fawad, who narrates the story. I just loved his childish perspective and sense of humor he brings to the situations that unfold around him, which are very charmi
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Former journalist turned full-time writer.
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“In fact, I couldn't help thinking that despite their height, adults were just plain unbelievably stupid: men were blowing up other men; soldiers were shooting at children; men were ignoring women they loved; the women who loved them pretended they didn't; and when I read the newspapers to Pir Hederi everyone they talked about seemed to be far more interested in rules and arguments and taking sides than the actual business of living.” 7 likes
“And it helped me too because I could see that away from the politicians and their arguments, away from the suicide bombers and their murders, and away from the soldiers and their guns, people were good. Afghan people were good.” 1 likes
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