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When the Moon Is Low

4.10  ·  Rating details ·  11,688 ratings  ·  1,422 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
Paperback, 400 pages
Published June 30th 2015 by William Morrow
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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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Feb 08, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-2016, 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.
Jul 11, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 23, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 14, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Apr 10, 2020 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: afghanistan, fiction
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
May 17, 2015 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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  ·  review of another edition
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!
Dec 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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!!
May 19, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
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 11, 2016 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Primrose Jess
Jan 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition

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
Mridula Gupta
Mar 10, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
RoseMary Achey
Aug 18, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Jun 13, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
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
Sharon Chance
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When the world as she knows it falls apart, young Afghani mother Fereiba finds herself widowed, her children fatherless and the very real possibility of her entire family being in danger from the Taliban. She knows that she has to do whatever she can to keep her family safe, and sets out to leave their Afghanistan home and travel to England where her sister is. It is a difficult journey and the small family meet tragedy and heartache all along the way.

I found "When The Moon Is Low" to be a fas
Anna Elliott
Apr 05, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
When I read and reviewed Nadia Hashimi's debut novel back in 2015, I commented that I was looking forward to reading more of her work in 2016. This fantastic book did not disappoint in any way.

For my full review please visit my blog at: https://leftontheshelfbookblog.blogsp...
May 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: audiobook
A gripping and relevant novel about an Afghan family's journey after fleeing from Afghanistan.
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
Stephanie Anze
Nov 03, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fereiba is a school teacher, mother of two and married to a man she loves. Despite a difficult childhood, Fereiba is finally happy. When the Taliban rise to power, however, her world comes to an abrupt halt. She can no longer teach as more rules are imposed each day. Matters only worsen when her husband is taken from their lives and she has to flee Afghanistan with her children. Facing a long and dangerous journey, Fereiba must rely on the kindness of strangers and her instincts to save her fami ...more
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Reader, Mom, Pediatrician, Author, Advocate, Dog Walker (only my own, no solicitations please.)

Loves dark chocolate and coffee and many other clichéd indulgences.

Gaithersburg Book Festival of Maryland organizing committee. Board member of Aschiana Foundation, Sahar Education for Girls, and Kallion Elevating Leadership in Humanities.

Articles featuring this book

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...
7 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.” 22 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.” 21 likes
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