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A House Without Windows

3.98  ·  Rating details ·  9,250 ratings  ·  1,042 reviews
A vivid, unforgettable story of an unlikely sisterhood—an emotionally powerful and haunting story of friendship that illuminates the plight of women in a traditional culture, from the author of the bestselling The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and When the Moon Is Low.

For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is sha
Hardcover, 415 pages
Published August 16th 2016 by William Morrow (first published August 15th 2016)
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Nisreen Mohamedali I don’t believe this to be a feminist novel, but I do think it highlights issues surrounding the treatment of women in Afghanistan
This question contains spoilers… (view spoiler)
Kat I believe they did. They were the ones that got the nut seller to help start the rumours. They knew and could not say because of their culture and the…moreI believe they did. They were the ones that got the nut seller to help start the rumours. They knew and could not say because of their culture and the "shame" that would have fallen on their family.(less)

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Average rating 3.98  · 
Rating details
 ·  9,250 ratings  ·  1,042 reviews

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Dec 02, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Fans of the Kite Runner or A Thousand Splendid Suns
"Alone and free of angst and sorrow
I've bled enough for today and tomorrow
Now it is time for my bud to bloom
I'm a sparrow in love with solitude
All my secrets contained within me
I sing aloud --- I'm alone, finally!"

This book will leave an imprint on my soul, of that I am sure. There are few books that leave such an impression on me. This novel made me grateful- grateful for so many things. Most of all, grateful to be a woman in America.

This book takes place in Afghanistan , present day. We are
Oct 15, 2016 rated it really liked it
If Nadia Hashimi and Khaled Hosseini ever decide to collaborate on a book or a series of books about Afghanistan, I would donate many reading hours to soak up every beautiful word. Both authors possess the gift of creating characters that I find difficult to leave once I've turned the last page.

In " A House Without Windows", Nadia Hashimi takes readers to a woman's prison in Afghanistan and examines the way in which justice works in that country after the Taliban has been pushed back by western
Aug 31, 2016 added it  ·  (Review from the author)
My thoughts: I poured my heart into that last chapter.
Jul 12, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nadia Hashimi, again, brings to light the plight of Afghani women. Through novels like this women are slowly gaining their voice in the world. I have truly enjoyed all of Hashimis novels and I look forward to her next. “These hardheaded men from their pulpits won’t budge. How the world would be different if a woman could judge!”
Oct 05, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: cultural
This is the 3rd book by this author that I have read....and she hovers in the 3 star range for me. I actually like her stories. They are cultural and that keeps them interesting. I feel her stories put a voice to women who don't seem to have one. However, there are a few things that nag at me regarding the writing.

First, this one dragged a lot and I actually skimmed a good portion in the middle. She is a little too clinical for me as she transitions from scene to scene. She often has some great
Patricia Williams
Apr 20, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This was a wonderful story of love, sacrifice and redemption. I really like the way this author writes. She really helps you understand the characters. A story of a young lawyer who wants to help the people in his home country but helping to change the way the laws are read and it has a good ending because somehow the judge decides to be fair! I learned a lot of historical things in this book also. Very good.
Sharon Metcalf
Nov 18, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2017
Imagine how bad things must be for some women in Afghanistan that they are happier, and feel safer, in prison than in their normal lives. Chil Mahtab was the House Without Windows. It was a female prison in Afghanistan. A place filled with women charged with moral crimes. Their "crimes" included such things as leaving an abusive husband, meeting male colleagues unaccompanued, outside working hours, or zina - the name applied to unlawful sexual relations (e.g. sex before, or outside, marriage). I ...more
Bam cooks the books ;-)
*Read for my library's Readers' Roundtable group, November, 2018.

Yusuf, a young American lawyer of Afghani descent, decides to return to Afghanistan to practice law with an humanitarian group. The case that has piqued his interest is that of a young mother named Seba who is accused of killing her husband. He is hired by her brother to defend her but frustratingly, she won't speak in her own defense, won't explain what happened--and in fact, appears quite insane at time. What dark secret is Seba
Feb 15, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: cultural, read-2017
I struggled to get through this book. I loved her other works. This was dark and depressing and I couldn't really connect with the main character enough to really care about her.
Book Riot Community
Zeba has always been the perfect wife and mother, but when her husband is found brutally murdered, she is jailed for the crime, much to the astonishment of her children. As Zeba awaits trial, she gets to know the other women in her cell, who have also suffered great misfortunes and violence at the hands of men. To these women, jail is more of a haven than a punishment, a safe place away from a world where women are treated so cruelly. A necessary, moving look at the lives of Afghan women and the ...more
A House Without Windows is written by internationally bestselling author of The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, Nadia Hashimi.

Nadia Hashimi's parents left Afghanistan in the 1970's, before the Soviet invasion. In 2002, Hashimi visited Afghanistan for the first time. She lives with her family in Washington, D.C., where she works as a pediatrician.

For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brut
Stephanie Anze
Jul 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
"No criminal is worse than a woman who wants to live for herself."

Zeba is a mother of four, a quiet villager and wife to Kamal. While he is abusive, there is little that Zeba can do for herself so she does her best to shelter her children. When Zeba is found with Kamal's blood on her hands and Kamal dead with a hatchet to the back of his head, she is accused of murder. Not uttering a single word, Zeba is taken to the Chil Mahtab jail while she awaits trial. Yusuf, an Afghan-born and American-rai
Jennifer Blankfein
Feb 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It is very exciting to discover an author who’s novels are so compelling, educational and engrossing that I want to read everything they have written. Nadia Hashimi is one of those brilliant and heartfelt authors. Her writing is smart and rich in history and traditions. Over the past few years she has published three fantastic novels, The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, When The Moon Is Low, and A House Without Windows. She also wrote a YA book, One Half from the East which came out in Sept. 2016.

Farrah Hilton
Nov 06, 2015 rated it it was amazing
The more she writes, the better Nadia Hashimi becomes. Of all of her novels, A House Without Windows is my favorite. Over the course of three days, I read the book twice simply because it resonated so much with me. Ms. Hashimi's novels are never the same, and her characters are richly developed, leaving readers moved by their experiences long after the story has ended.

The story of Zeba brings to light the imprisonment of Afghani women for crimes of immorality, particularly "zina" (a category enc
Kimmery Martin
Aug 17, 2016 rated it it was amazing
You can read my interview with Nadia Hashimi (and other my reviews and author interviews) here:

I loved A House without Windows, which is the story of a woman accused of murder in Afghanistan.

For some context, here's a brief, brief, brief history of Afghanistan. Okay, I can see you convulsing in the grip of a torturous flashback to 9th grade World Civ, but hold up. Don't click away. I promise this is relevant; it will take 45 seconds to read and then you’ll be able to contribut
Dec 10, 2017 rated it really liked it
After reading one of Nadia Hashimi’s other novels I couldn’t wait until I got my hands on another one, and this one did not disappoint. I found this one to be poignant in the sense that it portrayed not only the depths of a mother’s love but also the constraints of a traditional society. As a woman it was hard for me to read the reasons why the women were in jail with Zeba. At the same time it was easy for me to relate to the each of the women; I could picture myself making the same decisions if ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it it was ok
I enjoyed Hashimi's two previous novels, but found A House Without Windows to be disappointing drudgery with a thin plot and underdeveloped characters.
Sorry! DNF page 190
Anne Gardner
100 pages in and I'm not feeling it.
♥ Marlene♥
Sep 29, 2016 marked it as couldn-t-finish  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Nah. I am bored out of my mind.

Normally when I read a good book I love once I can dive back in the story but now heading to bed I was dreading that I still was reading this book. So slow and such nonsense. Plus I am also angered by the people in this book. Men and women what they care most about is their reputation. What others think of them that is most important thing of life and terrible things are done to keep that name clean. That being said I wish something had happened in this book beca
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was ok
Nadia Hashimi is no doubt an amazing writer. Unfortunately, as much as I loved certain passages and the relationship between the characters, the story itself was as slow as molasses. A bit over halfway I ended up skimming through to the end.
I have not read a book by Nadia Hashimi before, although I can't imagine why. It's not an enjoyable book, A House Without Windows. It's a brutal thing, and frustrating to one who hasn't experienced the kind of stifling experience the women in Afghanistan experience.

Honor killings exist in India. But it's not supported by the law, and it's shocking when it does occur. No woman is lawfully put in prison because she stepped out with a man before being married, or even that she worked late hours wi
Feb 08, 2017 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2017
Marriage was a sport. One point for love, one point for hate. The heart kept score.

A House Without Windows was urged on me as a fine example of social justice fiction (by someone who says she never reads nonfiction and therefore found this to be really informative and moving), and while I'd certainly agree that shining a light on injustice around the world is an admirable goal, I expect a novel to also have well-developed characters and plot, along with strong sentence-by-sentence writing, a
Nov 27, 2017 rated it it was ok
Set in an Afghani women’s prison populated by those arrested for flirting, running from abusive parents, resisting an arrange marriage, only our main character has a criminal charge recognizable to a Western reader, the murder of her husband with a hatchet. For most, life in this prison is preferable to life at home, more food, less work, more personal autonomy, Turkish soap operas, a beauty salon, friendly gossip. Despite some concern about her four young children thrown on the mercy of her hus ...more
Book Hunter
Sep 29, 2017 rated it it was ok
Shelves: historical-read
Set in Afghanistan, this is a story of Zeba - a wife and mother, accused of killing her husband, and Yosef - a young lawyer who tries to defend Zeba against all odds. I enjoyed Hashimi's two previous novels, but found this one to be disappointing. I don't think the book should have been more than half as long as it was. I was really quite bored throughout much of it. Chapters were repetitive. The plot was not convincing. The ending was relatively satisfying, but could have been wrapped up a lot ...more
Oct 24, 2017 rated it really liked it
This is a story that takes place in a woman's prison in Afganistan. It is a story about those women, and in particular Zeba. She is a strong woman. She is a brave woman. She is a loving mother.

This book reminded me on how other people have such different realities. It was a story of hope and courage. I enjoyed this book (audio version). It kept my interest and left me with tears of many emotions.
Nov 10, 2016 rated it really liked it
I greatly admire Nadia Hashimi, the author. Not only is she a publisher author, but she is a pediatrician and mother to four. She writes books about Afghanistan and the immigration experience that create empathy for others who have not experienced similar situations. This book is no exception.

The main character, Zeba, is sent to a women's prison in Afghanistan after being found with her murdered husband. We are introduced to the other women in the prison, her American educated but Afghan born de
Neelam Babul
Nov 26, 2018 rated it it was amazing
A tender and beautiful story that portrays the lives of women in Afghanistan and the struggles they endure.

Zeba is the perfect wife to her husband Kamal and a mother who loves her children dearly. When her husband is found brutally murdered, she is immediately arrested as the culprit. As Zeba awaits trial, she gets to know other women in her cell, who are victims of injustice at the hands of a system run by men who are violent, brutal and unjust. For such women, prison servfes as a safety net p
Aug 23, 2016 rated it liked it
Shelves: read-in-2016
I enjoyed the first two books by this author - found this one less satisfying. Characters did not resonate as well with me and the plot seemed a bit thin and the coincidences to resolve the conflict just too convenient. Set in Afghanistan, Zeba is incarcerated for killing her husband - young lawyer, Yusof hired to defend her - based on the dynamic of the country and Zeba's unwillingness to participate in her own defense as she fears for the ongoing well being of her children her defense is doome ...more
Harpercollins Canada
Aug 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
A House Without Windows is a sad but realistic tale of modern day witch hunts. But it’s not full of raging force like you’d expect. The book is quiet, but powerful – Nadia just has to throw the words up into the night sky and we just have to lie down and look up into the darkness. Yes, there is the mystery of if Zeba killed Kamal or if it was someone else, but there’s also so much to unpack from how she got to that point, and how the women in the prison begin to rely on her for powers like her m ...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.

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