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The Taliban Cricket Club

3.85  ·  Rating details ·  3,127 ratings  ·  441 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 April 1st 2012)
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Average rating 3.85  · 
Rating details
 ·  3,127 ratings  ·  441 reviews

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Kat Ward
Jan 04, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
This book has nothing of what I'm looking for while reading: it doesn't teach me something new, I couldn't relate to any of the characters and wasn't involved emotionally. It also wasn't entertaining: the events are predictable, the story line is clichéd and not believable; there are also a lot of details that aren't accurate. For example the fake beard: I don't think it can be made of female hair because a beard has frizzy hair so everybody would see the difference. Also, this fake beard was at ...more
Pamela Detlor
May 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 07, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Sep 27, 2020 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2020, love-story, drama
This is a what if story that concerns itself with the application of Taliban Afghanistan at the international Cricket Union and this was in real life ignored and in this book accepted if they can field some real cricket and team.
So some young Afghans are asked to form a cricket team and train for a small cricket tournament in Afghanistan. The leading lady Rukhsana has some experience with playing cricket in her time at university in India and she must teach her cousins the art of cricket.
Anne Hamilton
Sep 17, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Anne by: Rosanne Hawke
What an exquisitely fine balancing act Timeri Murari pulls off in this delightful, different book. The dark brutality of rule under the Taliban contrasts with the genuine integrity and honour of Rukhsana's brother and cousins who all want to escape the country.

Rukhsana is a journalist who has come back to Kabul to honour her own obligation to care for her dying mother, as well as marry her betrothed. Left behind at university in Delhi is the man she loves. In the meantime, she has attracted the
Feb 13, 2014 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition

Life in Kabul has become a sellable literary genre of its own. The success of hauntingly beautiful The Kite Runner opened the flood gates and there is no stopping since then. From fiction to nonfiction to memoirs, if the book mentions Kabul, women abuse and Taliban, chances are that it will get a publisher or two with some decent marketing budget. If a book as shoddily written as Kabul Beauty School can triumph at international best seller lists, then The Taliban Cricket Club should be considere
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
Rosanne Hawke
Jul 27, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: south-asian
I loved The Taliban Cricket Club and so did my husband. I was impressed at how author Timeri n Murari managed to use humour (or should I say satire) with such dangerous, dark and sad content. The mismatch of cricket with its peaceful laws and the Taliban was amusing to start with and yet the story is a well written thriller as well. Five stars for the truth, lightly and beautifully told in a memorable way.
Madhulika Liddle
Jun 14, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In a Kabul under the brutal hand of the Taliban, a woman is shot dead by the religious police for venturing out without her mahram, a male relative. So what if she was headed for the hospital in a desperate bid to save her ill baby, and there was no mahram to accompany her? For Kabul in the late 90s is a horrendous place to be: vicious, merciless, ferociously repressive. Photos and cinema are banned, games are forbidden, women must never be seen without their burqas, people are executed at the d ...more
Sam Still Reading
Jul 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
Shannon White
Apr 24, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: localiez-reviews
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
I thought this book was non-fiction when I started it, it seemed so realistic. It is a really good book. A look at life under the Taliban in Afghanistan from a woman's perspective. As she chafes against the oppression of the regime and resents the limits placed upon her life, Rukhsana pines for her previous freedom. She is a journalist who must now practise her profession by working under a pen name and is unable to publish her work in her own country. There can be no criticism of the Taliban an ...more
Oct 07, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: middle-east
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
Jan 07, 2013 rated it liked it
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
Dec 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This book is set in Afghanistan during the rein of the Taliban, having read all of Khaled Hosseni's books I am very interested in both this country and the rein of these monsters. This book is horrific and you just can't imagine the circumstances in which these people lived. I feel the author described it well and sensitivity.
I couldn't help but bond with these characters. Having lived in the Middle East for 9 years now these stories will always touch my heart.
Throughly recommend, its harrowin
Indra Saha
Dec 08, 2012 rated it it was ok
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.
Lammi Hearne-Sirman
A well written, engaging read with humour interspersed with some harrowing detail.

Rukhsana is a brave woman in an impossibly hard world. A story of courage and hope in the face of the most oppressive adversity.

Read in 3 sittings it's good, but could be better. Would recommend
Aug 06, 2012 rated it really liked it
I loved this book. Just an amazing story... Such a strange storyline. Again showed the courage of humanity when in adversity.
Emilia Barnes
Not the easiest thing in the world to read, but then that is hardly surprising considering the theme. Yet I did enjoy it. Murari's attempt at a female voice was actually astonishingly good. It avoided painful cliches, allowed for the heroine to be both strong and vulnerable, torn and complex and likeable. She was full of spirit even though she was very afraid. I found her believable and rooting for her and her team was no challenge. The romance, too, was touching and believable. Even though some ...more
Sep 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A beautifully written novel about a young Afghan woman living in a Taliban controlled city. Women, to Talib men, should be seen “only in the home or the grave”. Rukhsana has seen women gunned down in the street for the crime of being without their male protectors, but yet she becomes the coach of the all male Taliban Cricket Club! Rukhsana is a brave, intelligent women who breaks a lot of rules in her search for autonomy, happiness and love, but will she survive?
Scott Wallace
Apr 19, 2019 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-harder-2019
A solid 3 stars for this one. I read it for Read Harder 2019 for the book written by or about journalism. I’d say it was only loosely connected to journalism, as the main character was a journalist who was silenced by the Taliban when they seized power.
I was conflicted with this book. On one hand, as someone who has read the Malala story quite fully, it feels a bit cheap to write a piece of fiction when fact is already so alarmingly brutal. On the other hand, it shed light onto the incredibly pa
Jul 17, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audio

This is not an easy book. It's well-written and highly suspenseful, but that suspense made me anxious for the characters, so I set it aside once or twice to read something less intense and to give my poor nerves a break.

This is what happens when bullies with ultimate power are in charge.

Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was ok
Comparing this one to Kite Runner is a crime. While the story is set in Afghanistan, it in no way gives a glimpse of the level of cruelty, destruction and barbaric nature of Taliban as Hosseni did. The plot is flimsy. It's improbable and nearly a fantasy. I had high hopes from this but it fell flat.
Jun 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
At first, I wasn't sure where the novel was going. As I continued, I became enthralled with Rukhsana and her story. Once past the halfway point, I couldn't put the book down—I was carrying it everywhere, reading while walking. Such a great story with an amazing ending.
Mélanie Blanchard
Jan 14, 2018 rated it liked it
This book was a bit slow at the beginning and it took me a while to get into the story, but I then found it to be compelling and sad: I couldn't wait to keep reading to see how everything would turn out. It made me appreciate my life and the privilege of having been born in Canada.
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
Aarti Nair
Feb 27, 2017 rated it it was amazing
What's more exciting than a story of a fierce Afghanistani woman who is a journalist until Taliban captures it. She is denied of not just working but even the most fundamental rights such as walking freely or without a male companion. This story is about the eternal wait of being saved by her lover and the secret training that she gives to her brothers in her attempt to flee them from Afghanistan. This story has nicely cashed on the historical fact that Taliban did actually once encouraged crick ...more
Oct 19, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: c21st, india
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
Jan 20, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
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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

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“Cricket is theater, it's dance, it's an opera. It's dramatic. It's about individual conflict that takes place on a huge stage. But the two warriors also represent the ten other players; it's a relationship between the one and the many. The individual and the social, the leader and the follower, the individual and the universal.” 1 likes
“This is blackmail,” Veer said, still angry. “No, this is Afghanistan,” Jahan replied.” 0 likes
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