Random House, Inc.
The vivid, often startling memoir of a young woman shaped by two dramatically disparate worlds. Saira Shah is the English-born daughter of an Afghan aristocrat, inspired by his dazzling stories to rediscover the now lost life their forebears presided over for nine hundred years within sight of the minarets and lush gardens of Kabul and the snow-topped mountains of the Hindu Kush. Part sophisticated, sensitive Western liberal, part fearless, passionate Afghan, falling in love with her ancestral myth–chasing Afghanistan–Shah becomes, at twenty-one, a correspondent at the front of the war between the Soviets and the Afghan resistance. Then, imprisoning herself in a burqa, she risks her life to film Beneath the Veil, her acclaimed record of the devastation of women’s lives by the Taliban. Discovering her extended family, discovering a world of intense family ritual, of community, of male primacy, of arranged marriages, and finding at last the now war-ravaged family seat, she discovers as well what she wants and what she rejects of her extraordinary heritage.
Baker & Taylor
The British-born woman who filmed "Beneath the Veil," a groundbreaking documentary about Afghanistan, shares her journey of self discovery as a woman caught between the Western world and the land of her father's family.
Blackwell North Amer
Saira Shah grew up in Britain, but she was always told she came from somewhere else: a fairytale land of orchards and gardens, a place where even the water had magical qualities.
The country was Afghanistan, the storyteller her father, and the tales were embellished with every telling.
Then, at the age of twenty-one - with her father's tales as her guide - Saira set out to find the truth about her family's homeland.
Instead of finding a paradise, she was plunged into a country at war. It was the beginning of a journey spanning more than fifteen years. Whether extricating herself from an arranged marriage, walking through minefields with the mujahidin, or slipping clandestinely into the Taliban's Kabul, Saira learnt the bitter limits of the stories she loved. But, in the process, she discovered the reality of a country more complex and challenging than anything she could have imagined.
This book tells of a woman's search for identity in her disintegrating homeland, and of the power of a myth.
The woman who filmed Beneath the Veil, a groundbreaking documentary about Afghanistan, shares her journey of self discovery as a woman caught between Western and Afghani worlds. 100,000 first printing.