Words in the Dust is one of those quiet, no fuss books that tend to get lost amongst the popular, well-marketed titles. If I saw this book on the shelf I would, in all honestly, be put off by the old fashioned cover and probably carry on by. But this is a heartfelt, intelligent book and I simply cannot praise it highly enough.
Words in the Dust, written by former soldier Trent Reedy, tells the story of Zulaikha, a young girl living in worn-torn Afghanistan. The Taliban may be defeated, but Zulaikha is bullied daily and shunned because of her cleft lip. Until the day the American’s arrive and offer her a surgery that will transform her life.
Words in the Dust is a rich novel that flows so beautifully, giving an insightful glimpse into a very different culture and way of life. It was heartening to see Zulaikha grow in confidence throughout the book and ultimately choose her own future. One of the aspects I loved most (and found particularly powerful), was how pro-women’s rights the book was, all the while maintaining a respectful understanding of a culture where girls and women do face a lot of limitations. To that end, the authors note at the end is also well worth a read. An excellent book for younger and older readers.
*Many thanks to Frances Lincoln Books for sending this for review*
Its time for my April Wrap-up!
Its been a slow month – both on the blog and in terms of reading. However, as you can see, I’ve upgraded to a self-hosted WordPress site and you’ll be seeing a few more changes in the coming weeks as well.
Also – May happens to be my one year blogoversary! I cannot believe I started this blog a year ago – it seems like yesterday – so I think I’ll probably celebrate with a good old-fashioned giveaway.
Best of the Bunch in April
Words in the Dust by Trent Reedy
In the tradition of SHABANU, DAUGHTER OF THE WIND and THE BREADWINNER, a beautiful debut about a daughter of Afghanistan discovering new friends and opportunities after the defeat of the Taliban.
Zulaikha hopes. She hopes for peace, now that the Taliban have been driven from Afghanistan; a good relationship with her hard stepmother; and one day even to go to school, or to have her cleft palate fixed. Zulaikha knows all will be provided for her–“Inshallah,” God willing.
Then she meets Meena, who offers to teach her the Afghan poetry she taught her late mother. And the Americans come to her village, promising not just new opportunities and dangers, but surgery to fix her face. These changes could mean a whole new life for Zulaikha–but can she dare to hope they’ll come true?
While I personally think the cover design could use some work to make it more appealing, this is a touching story that gives an honest insight into a different culture and growing up in a war-torn country. A very strong debut and one I highly recommend. Look out for my full review later this week. Continue reading