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A Million Walls

3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  1,719 ratings  ·  244 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The Taliban have withdrawn from Kabul’s streets, but the long shadows of their regime remain.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 sist

Hardcover, 320 pages
Published February 2nd 2010 by Henry Holt & Company (first published 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...
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
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)
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.
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Emmm bueno, en realidad es un 4.5 porque aunque era todo muy interesante y la narración era muy entretenida, algo hacía que me canse y lo deje por un par de días antes de continuarlo... Es como que no logró engancharme de esa forma que en general me engancho (soy súper obsesiva y no suelo poder parar hasta que termine) pero de todas formas me mantuvo interesada lo suficiente como para retomarlo cada vez sin sentir que me estaba obligando a hacerlo.
En fin, más allá de ese aspecto tan personal, te
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
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.
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
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
I didn't open this book expecting to like it, since I don't personally gravitate toward young narrators or MidEast topics, but "Born Under a Million Shadows" grabbed me from the first page.

There is a lot of humor in this story because it's told through a young boy's eyes, though the subject matter - drugs, terrorism, poverty, Taliban, deformity - are quite tough. It's obvious that the writer adores Afghanistan and has a good understanding of their way of life and values, and I appreciated both t
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
Born under a million shadows
By: Andrea Busfield

From reading this book, I gained a new perspective on how life is in Afghanistan. The author chose to highlight the beauty and the hope of Afghanistan, instead of focusing on all the horrible events that happen in Afghanistan like terrorism and war. I really liked the fact that the author choose to show the hope and humanity of Afghanistan, because it gave me a different perception on Afghanistan and it helped to show me that even though Afghanistan
María Olvera
En realidad son cuatro estrellas, pero como me sorprendió lo mucho que me gustó le puse cinco.
La razón de que no sea "asombroso" es que no es muy convincente, se supone que el narrador es un niño de once años y aún así la mayor parte del tiempo no suena como un niño. La excusa que se da en el libro es que ha vivido tantas cosas impropias de un niño que se vio obligado a madurar, pero hay partes en las que es definitivamente adulto y otras en las que piensa con mucha inocencia. Admito que es una
Fawad is an 11 year old boy living in Kabul after the fall of the Taliban. Having lost his father, brother and sister, he lives with his mother, Mariya, who works as a servant for three westerners sharing a house. Fawad becomes close to Georgie, May and James, even if their non-Muslim ways (they drink alcohol, one reads pornography and one is a lesbian) sometimes shock him. Nevertheless, Fawad is drawn into their lives and becomes especially close to Georgie, who is having a relationship with a ...more
Born Under a Million Shadows is a warm, charming, amusing, and interesting peek into post-Taliban Afghanistan as seen through the eyes of eleven year old Fawad. If there is a glaring flaw in the narrative, it is this plot device. It's difficult for an adult to convincingly write as though they were a child and typically there are large inconsistencies in maturity that stem from such attempts. This book would've been better had the main female character Georgie been the narrator.

Still, that's not
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
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.
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!
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
Gede Friendsofbali
Meskipun saya sangat menikmati membaca buku tentang Timur Tengah, tetapi ketika membaca buku ini, saya merasa tidak berada di sana. kemungkinan didalamnya ada tokoh Georgie, James, May dan teman-temannya.
mereka membuat suasana Timur Tengah agak melenceng, dan kurang kuat kesannya. apalagi ketika Georgi tiba-tiba hamil dengan Haji Khan, membuat saya terkejut, karena narasi yang dibawa oleh seorang bocah umur 11 tahun tidak lah begitu cemerlang untuk mengupas kehidupan sebenarnya.
tetapi beberapa b
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.
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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
“I know most people think of spring as the season of new beginnings, when women chase the winter dirt from their homes, when the plants come out of hiding and the animals give birth to their new babies, but for me autumn is the season that whispers fresh promise.” 3 likes
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