Sofi, the boy's illiterate young mother, is desperate to find the truth about her son's death. But extremists move in and offer to roust the "infidels" from the region, adding new pressures and restrictions for the small village and its women.
We hear two sides of this story. One is Sofi's. The other is that of US Army Special Ranger Joey Pearson, who is in this faraway place to escape a rough childhood and rigidly fundamentalist parents.
In time, and defying all odds, Sofi secretly learns to read--with the help of Mita Samuelson, an American aid worker. Through reading, the Afghan woman develops her own interpretation of how to live the good life while discovering the identity of her son's murderer and the extremists' real purpose in her village.
As they search for answers, Sofi, Joey, and Mita come to the same realization: in each of their separate cultures the urge to preserve a way of life can lead to a fundamentalism that destroys a society's basic values.
Publishers Weekly® Reviews
- Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page .
- Review Date: 2012-11-12
- Reviewer: Staff
Afghanistan’s harsh terrain provides the backdrop for Froetschel’s moving exploration of the mysterious death of a young boy, Ali, near the remote village of Laashekoh, in Helmand Province. Initially, most locals think that Ali’s death is accidental despite the concurrent arrival of American soldiers and civilians sent to provide agricultural aid. Though the newcomers are not initially suspects, a traveling band of radicals stirs up animosity and hatred, and complicates life for all, especially the dead boy’s parents, Sofi and Parsaa. Over at the American camp, Army Ranger Joey Peterson has his hands full dealing with ignorance, intolerance, and visiting ag specialist Mita Samuelson, a general’s daughter. After the Americans’ translator dies and Mita disappears in a mountainside shooting, Joey desperately tries to keep the peace amid rising village tensions. Froetschel (Royal Escape) has crafted an exceptionally well-written tale of love, loss, trust, and greed with appeal that reaches far beyond mystery fans. Agent: Alison Picard, Alison J. Picard Literary. (Jan.)