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A Fort of Nine Towers: An Afghan Family Story

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4.39  ·  Rating details ·  2,383 Ratings  ·  426 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 physi
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Hardcover, 416 pages
Published April 16th 2013 by Knopf Canada
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Barb
Oct 26, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bookgroup, favorites
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
Andrea
Qais Akbar Omar's family could be considered one of the luckier ones, living through - but largely surviving - the horrors of life in late 20th century Afghanistan. This chronicle is raw, powerful, emotional, detailed and beautifully told.

I've read a LOT of fiction set in Afghanistan over the years, so it has been quite an eye-opening experience for me to read this memoir and understand just how much of that fiction is strongly grounded in the reality of ordinary Afghani people, regardless of et
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Julie
Apr 03, 2013 rated it it was amazing

"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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Morana Mazor
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
"Utvrda s devet kula", Quais Akbar Omar
:)
Dragi moji knjigoljupci, ovo vam je jedna divna knjiga koju bi svi trebali pročitati! Bez obzira na vaš omiljeni žanr; bez obzira da li inače preferirate trilere, ljubavne, špijunske ili koje god romane, ovo je posebna i "jaka" knjiga koja se može preporučiti svima.
I koju će svi, sigurna sam, sa užitkom čitati od prve do posljednje stranice jer je "Utvrda s devet kula" jedna od (rijetkih) knjiga koje nas obogaćuju na razne načine.
Tako npr. kroz ovu knjigu
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Vivone Os
KUMSKI BOOK CLUB 2017 (a book that is set in the Middle East)
Kad sam počela čitati ovu knjigu iskreno nije mi se svidjela. Činila se kao i svaka druga knjiga koja opisuje život u Afganistanu, a ja valjda nisam bila raspoložena za te teme. Razvlačila sam ju par dana dok se nisu počele događati drugačije, zanimljive situacije i do samog kraja sam uživala u čitanju.
Knjiga je autobiografija samog autora Qaisa Akbara Omara. On opisuje svoj život i život svoje obitelji od dana kad su istjerali Ruse iz
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Sandra
Mar 13, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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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Helena (Renchi King)
Od dizajna naslovnice do zadnje stranice-savršeno!
Ovo je autobiografska knjiga Qais Akbar Omara,malog dječaka iz Afganistana.Sad mi je jasna uzrečica koja kaže da "život piše najbolje romane".
Od bezbrižnog djetinjstva u velikoj,imućnoj obitelji prodavača sagova,do potpunog siromaštva i talibanske diktature,put je kojim je ovaj mladi čovjek prošao.Qais je bio znatiželjan dječak, okružen ljubavlju velike obitelji,bezbrižan i zaokupljen igrom puštanja zmajeva sa svojim rođakom ,na mnogobrojnim kabu
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Sara Zovko
Oct 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Ova knjiga očarala me svojom toplinom i optimizmom, što je zapravo nevjerojatno s obzirom na tematiku kojom se bavi. Ovo je istinita priča afganistanskog dječaka za vrijeme rata i njegova sjećanja na to grozno razdoblje povijesti. Iako spominje brojne ružne epizode koje su se dogodile njemu i njegovoj obitelji, isto tako prikazuje svoj narod kao vrlo ljubazne i skromne ljude koji su uvijek spremni pomoći jedni drugima, a obitelj im je sve na svijetu i kao ljude koji će podijeliti sa drugima zadn ...more
Nahil Sherzoy
Jul 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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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Scott Rhee
Jun 30, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
Mikey B.
Mar 28, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Mar 13, 2010 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
"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
Jul 19, 2014 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 01, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Jul 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 28, 2013 rated it liked it
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
May 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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.
Nadia
Jan 21, 2015 added it
Reading Qais Akbar Omar's very personal tale of strength and fortitude is also a lesson in Afghanistan's tumultuous history. He explains, in heartbreaking detail, what it means to live through a civil war. Very glad he's shared his story with the world.
Slađana
May 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Odlicna knjiga i za svaku prepuruku!
Lisa Ann
Feb 19, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Those who read Memoirs, Interested in True Life Experience Stories
Recommended to Lisa Ann 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
Teresa
Oct 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
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
PDXReader
Jul 20, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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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DubaiReader
Jun 10, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: ew-pm-bk-grp, vine, 2013
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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Jan
Jul 25, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Melissa
Sep 22, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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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Ivana
Oct 05, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, memoires, war
Opis zivota jednej rodiny z Kabulu pocas obdobia bojov mudzahedinov, naslednom prevzati moci Talibanom az po utoky USA na Afganistan po septembri 2001. Qais alebo "Kvajs" opisuje zivot svojej rodiny, cez povodny zivot na velkom nadvori v dome stareho otca, ktory okolo seba zhromazdil celu svoju rodinu, cez prve problemy, rakety... Stahovania a uteky, to vsetko pretkane kulturou a zvykmi z roznych regionov Afganistanu. Prezivanie obycajnej rodiny, ktora sa musela vyrovnat s komunizmom, vojnou, ta ...more
Laura Caisley
Jan 25, 2013 rated it really liked it
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
MaryJane Rings
Dec 29, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Gábor
Jul 11, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
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
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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 has written op-eds for The New York Times, articles for The Atlantic, The Sunday Times in London, The Globe and Mail in Canada, and short stories for The Southern Review, among other publications

Omar is the co-author of A Night In the Emperor’s Gar
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More about Qais Akbar Omar...

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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.” 16 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.” 6 likes
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