the storyteller’s daughter

Jonathan Yardley reviews Saira Shah’s The Storyteller’s Daughter. Shah is the acclaimed journalist who went undercover a few years ago to investigate the condition of Afghani women under the Taliban (the resulting documentary was Beneath the Veil). Shah’s book is about her search for the mythical Afghanistan of her father’s stories:

“The people of Kabul,” Shah writes, “call the capital Kabul jan: beloved Kabul. We call it that too, for this is where we belong.” But belonging to a place isn’t easy if you’ve never been there, if all you know about the place is the myth that has grown out of all those stories you heard. Since childhood Shah has been haunted by “the questions that for years I haven’t even dared to ask my own heart. Does the Afghanistan of our myths really exist? Are we still Afghans? And if I am not an Afghan, what am I?”

Yardley gives the book a positive review, as have others.