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The Disobedient Wife

4.26  ·  Rating details ·  80 ratings  ·  20 reviews
Two Women, Two Wives, Two Lives... 

The Disobedient Wife intertwines the narratives of a naïve, British expatriate, Harriet, and that of her maid Nargis, who possesses an inner strength that Harriet comes to admire as their lives begin to unravel against a backdrop of violence and betrayal.

Through Harriet’s journal, we see Tajikistan through the eyes of an ex-secretary and
Paperback, First Edition, 290 pages
Published November 2015 by Cinnamon Press
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Average rating 4.26  · 
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Jennifer S. Alderson
The Disobedient Wife is one of the most powerful, compelling books I’ve read in a long time. I feel as if I’ve been to Tajikistan and gotten to know the two strong women driving this novel as they try to find their place in the world. Nargis is a lower class Tajik woman living in the slums of Dushanbe and Harriet is a pampered expatriate residing in a gated suburban community.

The author’s descriptions of people, place, culture and events are exquisite and captivating, yet sometimes frustratingl
Full review @ Smoke & Mirrors: Loved this book. We reviewed for the Literary Wives online book discussion group, but I loved not only the depictions of marriage, but especially the relationship between Nargis and Harriet. Thank goodness Harriet was able and willing to get to know Nargis as much more than just a "servant." That relationship did them both a world of good! I admit I was petrified that Pouloud would return, with the potential for truly deva ...more
Marieluise Niehus
Aug 24, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This was an absolutely wonderful read, so rich in characters, culture, landscape. A very gripping contemporary story touching on women's issues in an area just after the collapse of the Sovjet Union. What did I ever know of Tajikistan? The book surely paints an impressive picture of the difficulties and struggles of the people, but also the ignorance (arrogance?) of the better off Westerners. And yet, it seems women's issues only differ in degrees ... ...more
Terry Tyler
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Reviewed by me as a member of Rosie Amber's Review Team

I enjoyed this book very much indeed, it's excellent and so unusual. It's set in 2007/8, in Tajikstan, one of those countries that used to be part of the USSR; I'm ashamed to say that I didn't know where it is, but looked it up (it borders China and Afghanistan).

The Disobedient Wife of the title could refer to Harriet Simenon, ex-pat wife of a Belgian diplomat who is unhappy in her current surroundings, or her home help/nanny Nargis, a young
Apr 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: travel-the-world
The Disobedient Wife is told through two main characters: Harriet, from Britain, married to a business man who is working in Dushanbe, the capitol of Tajikistan, and Nargis a Tajik woman working as a domestic for Harriet. I really enjoyed this book from both views of an expatriate and a local.
The Book's main topic revolves around the domestic abuse a lot of women in Tajikistan are subject to, and a loss of the equality that they had attained under the Soviet Union (but also discussing some of t
Gardenia Plant
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Nov 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This absolutely amazing novel is set in Tajikistan, telling the stories of two women: Nargis, a Tajik nanny and maid who was once widowed and then risked shame and the loss of one of her children to leave an abusive man whom she did not love. Her employer, Harriet, is in Tajikistan with her husband and two children, there temporarily due to his job. Harriet and her children want for nothing, having wealth to allow them every want or need. Nargis lives in a tiny shack with two of her children, he ...more
Georgia Rose
May 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I read The Disobedient Wife by Annika Milisic-Stanley as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team and I am delighted I chose it. I shall say right from the outset that this is a book I never wanted to end. I adored wallowing in its beautifully descriptive passages so elegantly crafted by this author and I was completely captivated by the lives the characters of this novel led.

From the outset it is clear that Nargis is the disobedient wife of the title. Widowed from the man she loved she has desert
Oct 02, 2016 rated it it was amazing
Interesting and thought provoking, a beautiful read!

The story of an unusual and complex relationship between two women coming from entirely different cultural and social backgrounds. As their paths cross, they will enrich and inspire change in each other's life. It is also a universal story of women's condition, no matter the era, part of the world or material wealth.

Rich and vivid descriptions of Tajikistan made me discover this troubled country I knew nothing about. An engaging writing, trans
Hazel Manuel
Apr 07, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Disobedient Wife is a beautiful and compelling story of two women from very different worlds, and how they come to understand and appreciate one another's challenges. Both of the main characters are multi-dimensional people who keep the plot moving throughout the book. The story is well told and interesting enough to have me reading 'just one more chapter' well into the nights. In addition to this, I enjoyed learning about a country and culture I previously knew very little about. I highly r ...more
Writerful Books
Jan 12, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The Disobedient Wife weaves together the lives of two very different women. Harriet is a lonely, English expat living with her Belgian husband and two children in Tajikistan. In their employ is Nargis, a Tajikistani nanny who looks after their two children while Harriet swans around town getting her nails done, frequenting foreign restaurants and having cocktails with her other expat friends in an attempt to stave off her frustration and homesickness.

Read the full review on Writerful Books
Heart wretching story.

I was really expecting much from this book. I needed to read a book that takes place in Tajikistan and this seemed not bad.. Not bad? Really, it was very good. This is the story of two women, one Tajik and and European, facing the dilemmas of married life.

Nargis is widowed from Ahmed, her true love. They had two children. After Ahmed's death, her parents encouraged her to marry Poulod. He was willing to marry her even though she was no longer a virgen so what were her choic
Jul 09, 2018 rated it really liked it
I was grateful to read The Disobedient Wife and to expand my understanding of life in Tajikistan. I was especially grateful to have so many different perspectives by and about women. All the female characters in the book undergo a change of perspective, and one can certainly see that traditional culture, as rich as it is, is changing quickly. The author does a nice job with Point of View, and the expat wife is revealed to us both in her deepening relationship with her Tajik nanny, and in her jou ...more
Emma Lewis-Galic
Jan 19, 2021 rated it it was amazing
I absolutely LOVED this book! I found it completely engrossing from the very first page and couldn't put it down. If you want a 'summer read' but are not into light, moronic chic lit fiction but prefer well crafted, intelligent, thoughtful fiction this is the book for you. The story was utterly believable and so touching, I honestly felt like I personally knew the characters which is after all the sign of a great novel. The sense of place was wonderful, I felt transported. Milisic-Stanley is an ...more
Debra  Wills
Mar 08, 2020 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: around-the-world
This book takes place in Tajikistan. The character of Nargis is the backbone of this book. She is a young woman who faces poverty, hardships in relationships and the struggles of being a Tajik woman. I couldn't put this book down and was satisfied with the way it ended. ...more
Mar 09, 2019 rated it really liked it
Reading the world in books: Tajikistan.
Dec 29, 2020 marked it as to-read
Shelves: around-the-world
Sep 25, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: a-kindle, atw80
Overall, I liked this novel about two women - the English wife of a diplomat and her Tajik maid. Most of the stuff about the Englishwoman was often more than a bit unbelievably pants but the Tajik stuff was really, really interesting and for some reason felt much better written, almost as if two authors were at work. The writing consequently came alive and then fell flat and then came alive again. Whatever its faults I found it to be a bit of a page turner and I engaged wholly with the Tajik wom ...more
Helen Logan
Apr 06, 2016 rated it it was amazing
'The Disobedient Wife' is a colourful, informative and absorbing tale, woven in present-day Dushanbe, Tajikistan. Milisic-Stanley offers us a window onto the lives of two women whose circumstances appear to be worlds apart. Keeping an eye open for the next novel by this talented writer. ...more
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Does traditional culture always hold back women? 1 1 Jun 15, 2016 02:32AM  

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Annika Milisic-Stanley was born in 1975 to Swedish and Anglo-German parents, and grew up in Britain. After graduating from the School of Oriental and African Studies, she worked in Nepal, Kenya, Somalia, South Sudan, India, Burundi and Egypt as well as living in Tajikistan for several years. Annika lives in Rome. In addition to writing and painting, she works as a campaigner to raise awareness on ...more

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