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Angela, Diane and Esil discuss

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Diane S ☔ Starting July 1st.

Esil Thanks Diane!. I can't believe it's almost July. I've been ridiculously busy and barely have had time for reading or Goodreads. But fortunately I will be on vacation next week with no plans other than reading and staying cool at a quiet cottage :)

Angela M (On a little break) Lise , I wondered where you’ve been but figured you were busy with work . Glad you have some relaxation time coming next week . A quiet cottage - sounds wonderful!

Looks like there are 39 chapters in the book , so how about 1-13, 14-26, 27-39 ?

Angela M (On a little break) Starting it this afternoon. Hope we all love it !

Diane S ☔ Lise, quite jeslous of your cabin getaway, though i know you more than deserve the rest. I'm sweltering here in the Midwest, though I'm actually in the AC, housebound all day. Angela, are you very warm in NY? Will start later this afternoon too. Think this will be a good one.

Angela M (On a little break) Diane , yes , it’s really hot and humid . Well over 90 for the next several days . Our development is by Lake Ontario , although our house isn’t right by the water . It’s usually cooler here but not today! Staying in the air conditioning as well today .

Lise , Happy Canada Day . Hope it’s cool where the cottage is ! You do deserve a nice break ! Enjoy.

Esil Thanks to both of you. It’s really hot at the cottage too, but thank goodness we can jump in the lake. No AC though, so the nights are hot!

I just started a few chapters but I’ll wait to chapter 13 to post my comments.

Angela M (On a little break) I finished 1-13. It reads pretty smoothly at a good pace and so far I like it. I can’t imagine the arranged marriage . At first because of the different views of Gul and Farida , I didn’t like him, but then thought better of him after he cared for her feet. Was glad for Farida that she developed feelings for him. Felt sorry for her when she was made to wear the burka when it wasn’t her choice.

How the education of women was looked at from the strict cultural viewpoint vs the more modern view sounds like it stayed that way. It wasn’t so long ago that Malala was shot for going to school. I wonder if things are still as bad now.

Martin and Liv - don’t like Martin - affairs with students, at least dalliances. Disappointed with his career and hopes that this will further him but it doesn’t feel like it’s because of his love of his work rather for recognition.

Don’t feel like I know Liv yet.

Looking forward to when Liv and Farida meet.

message 10: by Esil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil I’m up to chapter 13 too. I agree with much of what you say, Angela. I am finding the story involving Farida and Dul much more interesting for now, than the other part of the story. But I assume that Liv and Martin’s story will be more interesting when we see them in Afghanistan.

I hope you are both keeping cool. We just lost power at the cottage. So we might be without fans tonight. Yikes!

Diane S ☔ We lost power four different times today. Too much stress on the power grid I guess. Like Faridas story the most do far too, but s little disappoined that she is succumbing yo her new life so easily and to such an extant that she shares their hate. What happened to the educated, intelligent women that had her own opinions. Do like that the women seem to be aware of what is going on dedpitd their men's efforts to keep them sheltered. Hope that is really the case and not a fictional construct.

Martin, such a stereotype, frustrated academic on the make because of failed aspirations. Don't care for him either. Li,v, not sure about yet, have s feeling she will blossom Hill n Afghanistan and come out of Martin's shadow.

Wouldn't survive without air or fans. Hope it cools off z little for you Lise.

Angela M (On a little break) Lise, that’s awful! Hope the power is restored soon soon. I just saw an alert that around 2,000 homes in our county are out of power. When we were kids we didn’t have air conditioning and barely had fans. Couldn’t take it now without air conditioning!

I was disappointed that Farida seems to be giving in but hoping that will change too .

Diane S ☔ Haven't reached our second point yet but I wanted to say how in Chapter fourteen I enjoyed that Martin has an unfortunate experience that maybe will cut into some of his over confidence and bravado. I like that we are seeing into the other side of 9/11, which I don't think I have read before. There is no way in hell one would ever get me to go to the middle East. As it shows in this book the reality is totally different than what one learns in a book.

Angela M (On a little break) I finished Ch 14-26
Definitely getting more tense and Kabul certainly is a dangerous place for all of them. Feels like something violent will happen soon .

I definitely agree that it’s interesting to see things from this other perspective with the poverty and many innocent people.
I have come to dislike Martin more and more with his deception and the way he treats both Liv and Farida when he knows what the customs are with regards to treating women in this culture. On the other hand , even with the strict customs, I like Gul more as he seems to respect Farida for who she is.

Love that both of the women know they are the important players here .

Angela M (On a little break) Wanted to add that it doesn’t seem to show as much interaction between Farida and Liv so I haven’t seen the bond between them , except for a couple of mentions of each other. Maybe in the last part .

message 16: by Esil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil We got our power back and it’s now much cooler! Thank goodness, because it’s hard to function in such heat without at least a fan. I hope you two are also getting colder weather.

I just finished chapter 26. I too like how this shows a facet of Afghanistan that is less available to us North Americans. I think the author has worked hard to suggest through Sul that not all Afghani men treat women poorly and also to suggest through Martin that American men can be boors. But the restrictions on Afghani women’s lives are hard to fathom. The idea that you would be unsafe going out without a Burka or even alone is really hard to understand and to relate to.

Angela — I agree that it feels like something ominous is about to happen.

It certainly is keeping me interested.

Diane S ☔ The information that is making the biggest impressionon me is how we never know the true story. Obviously what we are shown on TV is only a small part of the whole story. The part that will get us angered enough, or to sympathize with, that will let our governments justify their actions. Just like in our countrys not all women are treated well, all do not have freedom, some like the Mormons have multiple wives. Men kill women here for cheating on them. Maybe there are some who are unhappy, maybe even many and I'm sure they would love more freedom, but I have to ask, how different are we really?

Angela M (On a little break) This definitely brings to light not just the treatment of women in that culture, but you’re so right , Diane - not a lot of difference sometimes. I think Liv mentions something about how the professors discard their wives for younger women just like these men take younger second wives .

Lise , glad you got your power back ! It was really hot here today . I went to the cemetery to water the plants my sister and husband planted last month . We haven’t had any rain , although there was some near here. Tomorrow is supposed to be not as warm .

Keep cool !

Angela M (On a little break) I finished reading it late last night but I don’t want to talk about the ending until you both have finished. Holy moley !

This will be 4+ for me. I thought about rounding up but what was lacking for me was a clear picture of how the friendship developed , although the deep bond is apparent in the end. Powerful story in so many ways - the strength of these women and how much we see that we didn’t always see in the news.

Diane S ☔ Won't finish until later today. Spending the morning making homemade baby food for Rue and it's my 35th wedding anniversary so we are going to a favorite place for lunch. On top of that I have a pulmonologist appt laterthis afternoon. Plus........I have to keep putting this book down and think about what I've read.

Angela M (On a little break) Happy Anniversary, Diane to you and hubby!
Home made baby food - what a good grandma you are !
Good luck at the dr !

Looking forward to talking about this more , especially the end !

message 22: by Esil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil I’ll be finishing a little later today too. I’m finding the last third harder to read than the earlier parts, although more engaging. I’m looking forward to our final discussion.

Happy anniversary, Diane! We’re celebrating our 30th in August. Amazing how quickly time goes by!

message 23: by Esil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil I’ve finished it. I think I’m going to land on 4 stars. The ending is brutal, but makes sense given what came earlier. Martin is a real brute. The other characters, including Sul, are more complicated. It’s hard to know what will happen to Farida. I feel like the author did a really good job showing that gender discrimination and sexual brutality can happen anywhere, while still showing that overall the plight of women in Afghanistan is generally brutal. The idea of being killed or shunned for being raped is mind boggling.

I’m glad to have read this one. It sounds like the author based the story on experiences she may have had as a journalist.

message 24: by Diane S ☔ (last edited Jul 03, 2018 04:23PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Diane S ☔ I too think the ending made sense. Didn't expect it though the book was getting more and more intense. Although I liked Farida and Liv, I did feel the characters were not quite fleshed out but that they were stereotypes of people involved in this conflict. But I also don't think the characters were the point, only the human interest draw. The conflict itsrlf I feel was the point, how we impose our Western values and condemnations on a society we don't and can't understand. This country has been living in a war zone for over 25 years, we can't possibly understand how it is to live like that. We end up doing more harm than good trying to force change on a culture we do not understand. Woman considered fair game if not wearing a burka, here women raped and said to be asking for it if they dress promiscuously. Women raising children alone, on welfare barely able to keep their heads above ground. People living on the street. Are our differences only a matter of degrees? Four for me too. This novel made me see how we are alike as women, and how as a country we never make anything better for anyone when we interfere in things we little understand. Also how our government and news stations only show us what they want us to see to support their positions.

message 25: by Esil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil So well put, Diane!

Angela M (On a little break) I thought the last part was pretty intense and while I knew something was going to happen, I didn’t have a clue that this is how things would end up . I thought that Farida would be the one to die or Liv or both. I agree, Diane that this was about the conflict, but I did think that this was a testament to women in a way as well . The dichotomy between the cultures but yet there were many things the same in the marriages. I would have liked their friendship to develop earlier than it did. I was surprised that it was Khurshid in the end helping Farida.
4+ for me . I almost wish there had been an epilogue .

Diane S ☔ Will read both of your reviews after I have posted mine which probably won't be until tomorrow. I'm behind on reviews again, not a new thing for me. I enjoyed discussing this with you both as always.

Angela M (On a little break) Me too ! Looking forward to your review, Diane. I expect it will be a powerful one given your thoughts.

message 31: by Esil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil Happy July 4th, Ladies! I hope it’s not too hot where you are to get outdoors today.

I really appreciated our discussion on this one too. This book gave me a lot of food for thought as did our discussion.

Angela M (On a little break) Thanks , Lise. I did too! I liked this one a lot and definitely a lot to think about.

It’s supposed to be a little cooler by our house , but still high 80’s. We’re going to a barbecue at my niece’s today and they live only about 25 minutes away and its predicted to be 93 !
Hope you are still enjoying the cottage !

Diane , will it be still hot where you are? I know this weather is not fun for you ! Keep cool !

Diane S ☔ We are back in the excessive heat warnings. I'm staying in but daughter and baby will be stopping in later, plus back to work tomorrow. Enjoy your BBQ Angela and Lise, the rest of your cottage time. Is it cooler now for you, Lise?

message 34: by Esil (new) - rated it 4 stars

Esil It was really hot today and again tomorrow, but at least we have power. Friday it gets cooler. We’ll be heading back to the city on Sunday.

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