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When the Moon is Low

4.12  ·  Rating details ·  13,996 ratings  ·  1,704 reviews
Mahmoud's passion for his wife Fereiba, a schoolteacher, is greater than any love she's ever known. But their happy, middle-class world—a life of education, work, and comfort—implodes when their country is engulfed in war, and the Taliban rises to power.

In Kabul, we meet Fereiba, a schoolteacher who puts her troubled childhood behind her when she finds love in an arranged
Hardcover, 384 pages
Published July 21st 2015 by William Morrow (first published June 30th 2015)
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Alyson Why can't you get a copy of this book? Is it banned in Iran? This book, "When the Moon is Low" by Nadia Hashimi is a must read for sure! I'd put it ri…moreWhy can't you get a copy of this book? Is it banned in Iran? This book, "When the Moon is Low" by Nadia Hashimi is a must read for sure! I'd put it right at THE TOP of my book list! Nadia Hashimi is an Afghan-American physician and author living in USA with her fam, and I don't know if we can actually contact authors but she is quite a writer. She also wrote the amazing book titled "The Pearl that Broke the Camel's Back." I also loved "The Kite Runner" and I'd love to read your college thesis on that book. I have yet to read Khaled Hosseini "A Thousand Splendid Sons" which is on my To Read list.
When the Moon is Low is different yet similar and also spans a family's generations telling such a captivating story, it's unforgettable. I find it interesting that this story is at first mostly told through the eyes of the mother in Afghanistan, and the latter half is mostly told through the eyes of her son during their "perilous they fled Taliban-controlled Kabul and fell into the dark world of Europe's undocumented" and the things that happen as they travel from Iran to turkey, to Greece, and more, I won't include any spoilers to this page-turner but let us know when you've read it or if you want me to send you a copy!(less)

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 ·  13,996 ratings  ·  1,704 reviews

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Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing
Enlightening and Incredibly Hard to Put Down

What is this book about?

Fereiba is an Afghani woman whose husband was killed in a brutal act of violence by the Taliban. Fearing for the safety of her children, she makes a desperate trek to England where the rest of her family has successfully found asylum. Fereiba's family will meet many challenges along the way.. will they make it to England?

Saleem, Fereiba’s son, feels the need to become the man of the family and protect his mother and siblings fro
Sep 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: own
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“Afghanistan is a land of widows and widowers, orphans and the missing. Missing a right leg, a left hand, a child, or a mother. Everyone was missing something, as if a black hole had opened in the center of the country, sucking in bits and pieces of everyone into its hard belly. Somewhere under our khaki earth is everything we’ve ever lost.” —Fereiba Waziri put Hashimi on my radar, and while I knew that her books were about the Middle East, I didn’t really know much about them.
Lori Elliott (semi-hiatus)
Another heart wrenching novel from Hashimi. I've not read a book that has explored so closely the flight of individuals from war torn countries. Really startling how emotionally and physically difficult this is for them to do... first, they have to leave their beloved homes behind then they have to endure disdain from the countries they are fleeing to. Very, very sad... yet another harrowing example of the strength of the human spirit. I didn't feel as connected to these characters as in The Pea ...more
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it
Ahh.....I was so very enjoying reading this book and was ready for a five star rating....until the end. I am a person that needs beginnings and endings to my stories. I don't want to create my own version of an ending and I don't like sequels. I feel like I am left blindfolded at the edge of a cliff. ...more
Nancy (Trying  to catch up with reviews)
When the Moon Is Low is about a mother who flees Afghanistan. Her husband is a civil engineer who is taken from their home and killed after the rise of the Taliban. Following this tragic event, Fereiba chooses to flee their home with their 3 children to seek asylum in England which is quite an undertaking.

This book really humanizes the plight of refugees leaving war-torn countries in search of a safe place to live. Their painstaking journey takes them through Turkey, Greece, Italy and France. I
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Nadia Hashimi is a very gifted writer. I loved her first novel, The Pearl That Broke It's Shell.
This is a story of a brave young mother, who flees her home in Afganistan with her 3 children after her husband is killed. The story is told from her point of view, and her son, Saleem's. As I sit comfortably in my safe, American home, my heart breaks for Mothers in the world who want better lives and oppurtunities for their children, and are willing to do anything for the chance. That road is unbelie
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, afghanistan
It starts well with the story of a motherless Afghan girl,dealing with the attentions of an unwanted suitor and her life in Kabul.

Marriage doesn't quite happen the way she would like,but it still works,and then calamity strikes.

This girl,now a mother of three has to flee Afghanistan during the Taliban era,to save her family's lives.

The themes explored are displacement and the plight of refugees,who are not really welcome anywhere they go.

The refugee family travels through multiple countries,hopi
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it
There is so much that I wanted to say about this book but I will try to stay on point and be brief. Sort of.

This is the first I’ve read of Nadia Hashimi and I found it to be simply but elegantly written. In certain places the emotion leaps right off the page and manages to pack a bigger a punch with fewer words. Descriptions of countries and living conditions are succinct and clear. I find this to be more a more engaging style for me than something with long, flowery prose or extensive descripti
Truly a 4.5 stars. What a current & relevant story this is. There are so many opinions on anything to do with refugees & immigrants ( illlegal or not), whether it is here in the US & closing our borders or in many other foreign countries where people are fleeing for many reasons- war, poverty, religious freedom, etc.
This story starts with a young Afghan girl, named Ferebia. We follow her life as a young girl & teenager into her married life. She & her husband are educated, professional people bu
May 17, 2015 rated it it was ok
ok, this book is very solidly written.

The emotions, however, were flat. I wasn't moved or touched. I felt that a distance remained for me as a reader and I didn't want that remoteness.

The book had too many tropes. The mean stepmother and the evil Taliban figured prominently. But thank goodness for the kindly neighbors and the few compassionate figures along the way. They included the kind man and his wife who took in the lodgers, the caring, pretty aid worker, the cocky Afghani male compatriots,
This is once again a soulfoul book. The first part of the book in Afghanistan read like The Pearl That Broke Its Shell - the debut novel of this author. Absolutely brilliant. Pearl was one of the best books I have ever read. When I started out with this book I got hyper excited again. The quality of writing was just phenominal.

When the Moon is Low lost me around two thirds into the book. The magic was lost. Too much emotional extortion, a weak predictable plot and a change to a cramped memoir o
I give this three weak and and flimsy stars. It could easily have been two.

Typically, my privilege and I love stories about people who endure immense suffering and come out better in the end. I know why I like these tales, I know it makes me a horrible person but also a normal person. I'm sure not loving this book also makes me a horrible person but, in this case, not a normal person.

I've shelved this story under YA because it pulls its punches, like it's made for the delicate sensibilities of f
Dec 25, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Two sad, moving books back to back for me was almost too much.

The subject of immigrants is such a hot bed right now here in our country. I think this book really gives you a glimpse of what life can be like for some. And they were just trying to get out and stay alive. So much in this book touched my heart.

Ferebia when thru so much - from her birth to the point she flees with her children. Saleem had to grow up so quickly and deal with things no child should have to deal with.

A great book!
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
If I could give this book to every person who has hateful internet posts regarding refugees, perhaps their hearts might start to feel. I felt sucked into this story from the very beginning-great characters,lots of obstacles, but hope was still at the heart of the novel.
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Review also found at

**I received an advanced copy of this book from the publisher William Morrow via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. The expected publication date is July 21st 2015**

I was pretty excited for this read. I had read Hashimi's previous novel The Pearl That Broke it's Shell (review here ) and loved it so my expectations were set high for this book. I can say I was not disappointed.

I won't re-hash the story as I feel the book synop
Jan 11, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: cultural
I liked this. The plight of refugees has been highlighted in the last few decades by many countries, volunteers, and charitable organizations. We have a fair amount in the area where I live, so I felt that this story was definitely current. I liked the characters in this. A family was caught in a sad little story trying to escape Kabul after the death of the husband by the government. I liked too, that even though there was a lot of tragedy here, it didn't feel like a tragedy parade. There were ...more
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
Again Nadia Hashimi drew me into the life of her characters portrayed in When The Moon is Low. Alternating chapters of Mother and Son give perspective and interpretation of the events surrounding the harsh journey they embark on to flee Afghanistan. Enjoyed every chapter!!
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it

This was a timely read for me. There are so many articles, opinions, thoughts, and social media propaganda discussing the refugee crisis that this book, though fictional, was a timely reminder that each refugee has a story. I don't know the details for what brings each person to the shores of a foreign nation seeking asylum, it could be tragic, motivated by religion, or simply seeking a better life than what could be attained in a native land. My opinions are not changed and this is not a polit
Sep 12, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: historical
A heart-wrenching insight into the life of a refugee trying to make it from Afghanistan to England. The characters were compelling and heartbreakingly realistic, and I was fascinated by how their comfortable, ordinary lives in Kabul were completely upended by the Taliban. I really enjoyed reading about Fereiba's life story, and the love she had for her children. This is the second book I've read by Nadia Hashimi, and I love the way she writes; a lot of historical fiction tends to be very descrip ...more
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was ok
The fact that the story has been split in two absurdly different parts doesn't really help. Let aside the missing explanations. Read at your own risk. ...more
Mridula Gupta
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
I have never read a book set in Afghanistan. And this book takes me right to the country of beauty and chaos. Hashimi's writing beautifully captures the landscapes (multiple, in this case) and the multifarious emotions that run through a mother desperate to lead her children to safety and a boy who is coming of age among conflicting political and social scenario.

✨'When the Moon is Low' has been narrated through two POVs- Fereiba- the mother who wants her children to grow up 'normally', far away
3.5 stars. This book would have rated much higher if I enjoyed the first third more, but unfortunately Fereiba's coming of age section read very much like another version of the Cinderella story. The rest of the book more than makes up for this though. This is not the first book I've read about refugees, but it's definitely the one that had the biggest impact. The author does an amazing job showing the desperation of this situation. Not only do we get to see how it impacts the life of a mother, ...more
Lynn G.
A fictional look into the years leading up to and including the rise of the Taliban and its repressive regime in Afghanistan, and one family's escape from Kabul, across Iran, to Turkey, Greece, Italy, and France; the ultimate goal being London where family resides.

The depictions of extreme dangers faced, the amoral individuals who "helped" the refugees, and the struggles to survive could have been taken from the headlines.

The reader feels fear, loathing, anger, desperation, loss, and hope throu
RoseMary Achey
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it
Refugees entering Greece has been a regular feature of the nightly news recently. Reading this book will give you an in-depth look at their difficult journeys and why they are willing to risk their lives to flee their native lands.

This novel follows one family as they escape Afghanistan while the Taliban is in power and seek asylum in England. This powerful and insightful book will give you a new appreciation of the refugees plight and struggle.
Nov 30, 2022 rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
Mar 07, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Refugees don't just escape a place. They had to escape a thousand memories until they'd put enough time and distance behind them and their misery to wake to a better day.
-Nadia Hashimi, When the moon is low.
Now this is how you write about a displaced family crossing borders and making perilous journeys only to safeguard your children and make life better for them.
Set in two parts, the first part is about Fereiba, explaining her difficult childhood living with her step mother, her adolescent yea
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Educational, timely, and entertaining read of immigrants fleeing war. Suffering of a mother and her concern for her children clearly are demonstrated in this novel. Growth of characters are notable in Fereiba and in her son. I look forward to reading her 1st book.
Sep 04, 2017 rated it really liked it
Heart-rending narratives by a mother, Fereiba, and of her 15-year-old son, Saleem, the family escaping the Taliban. The father, Mahmood, had delayed their leaving Afghanistan; later we find out why. After he has been taken away and killed, Fereiba, and her three children decide to flee with false papers. The novel recounts their journey to freedom in England and her stepsister. Fereiba's narration read like a memoir, which I at first thought it was, until the first section concerning the lonely ...more
Marialyce (absltmom, yaya)
Mar 22, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a wonderful story about family, courage, and the will to go forth no matter what obstacles are placed in your path. We meet Fereiba, a young girl who looks upon life as a gift, even though she is burdened with a stepmother who treats her more like a slave. Through an arranged marriage she weds a man, Mahmood, who she grows to love and he loves her. They have two children with one on the way when the Taliban put an end to the life this couple once shared. After Mahmood's death at the han ...more
Vicki Willis
This book was about a family forced to flee their war torn country. The danger both physical and emotional definitely took it toll. I did feel that it was like two stories. The first one being the life of a girl growing up in Afghanistan. It was very interesting from a historical perspective, but also a slow meandering story. The second part was about this girl all grown up with a family of her own and their efforts to flee to a safer home. There was a connection later in the book that brought t ...more
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Reader, Mom, Pediatrician, Author, Advocate, Dog Walker (only my own, no solicitations please.)

Loves dark chocolate, coffee, and many other clichéd indulgences.

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Her Favorite Books About New Beginnings: It's never too late to start over in these recs from the author of When the Moon Is Low, a new novel about...
8 likes · 12 comments
“In the darkness, when you cannot see the ground under your feet and when your fingers touch nothing but night, you are not alone. I will stay with you as moonlight stays on water.” 24 likes
“Refugees didn’t just escape a place. They had to escape a thousand memories until they’d put enough time and distance between them and their misery to wake to a better day.” 24 likes
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