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Dancing in the Mosque : An Afghan Mother's Letter to Her Son
by Homeira Qaderi




Overview -

A People Book of the Week & a Kirkus Best Nonfiction of the Year

An exquisite and inspiring memoir about one mother's unimaginable choice in the face of oppression and abuse in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

In the days before Homeira Qaderi gave birth to her son, Siawash, the road to the hospital in Kabul would often be barricaded because of the frequent suicide explosions. With the city and the military on edge, it was not uncommon for an armed soldier to point his gun at the pregnant woman's bulging stomach, terrified that she was hiding a bomb. Frightened and in pain, she was once forced to make her way on foot. Propelled by the love she held for her soon-to-be-born child, Homeira walked through blood and wreckage to reach the hospital doors. But the joy of her beautiful son's birth was soon overshadowed by other dangers that would threaten her life.

No ordinary Afghan woman, Homeira refused to cower under the strictures of a misogynistic social order. Defying the law, she risked her freedom to teach children reading and writing and fought for women's rights in her theocratic and patriarchal society.

Devastating in its power, Dancing in the Mosque is a mother's searing letter to a son she was forced to leave behind. In telling her story--and that of Afghan women--Homeira challenges you to reconsider the meaning of motherhood, sacrifice, and survival. Her story asks you to consider the lengths you would go to protect yourself, your family, and your dignity.

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More About Dancing in the Mosque by Homeira Qaderi

 
 
 

Overview

A People Book of the Week & a Kirkus Best Nonfiction of the Year

An exquisite and inspiring memoir about one mother's unimaginable choice in the face of oppression and abuse in Taliban-controlled Afghanistan.

In the days before Homeira Qaderi gave birth to her son, Siawash, the road to the hospital in Kabul would often be barricaded because of the frequent suicide explosions. With the city and the military on edge, it was not uncommon for an armed soldier to point his gun at the pregnant woman's bulging stomach, terrified that she was hiding a bomb. Frightened and in pain, she was once forced to make her way on foot. Propelled by the love she held for her soon-to-be-born child, Homeira walked through blood and wreckage to reach the hospital doors. But the joy of her beautiful son's birth was soon overshadowed by other dangers that would threaten her life.

No ordinary Afghan woman, Homeira refused to cower under the strictures of a misogynistic social order. Defying the law, she risked her freedom to teach children reading and writing and fought for women's rights in her theocratic and patriarchal society.

Devastating in its power, Dancing in the Mosque is a mother's searing letter to a son she was forced to leave behind. In telling her story--and that of Afghan women--Homeira challenges you to reconsider the meaning of motherhood, sacrifice, and survival. Her story asks you to consider the lengths you would go to protect yourself, your family, and your dignity.


 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780062970312
  • ISBN-10: 0062970313
  • Publisher: Harper
  • Publish Date: December 2020
  • Page Count: 224
  • Dimensions: 8.1 x 5.6 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 0.7 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

Dancing in the Mosque

“Divorce, divorce, divorce.” Homeira Qaderi’s phone screen lit up with these words from her husband, ending their arranged marriage—and her parental rights to their baby son. This heartbreaking act comes not at the beginning of her searing memoir, Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother’s Letter to Her Son, but near its inevitable conclusion, as a woman who could not conform to the strictures of Taliban-ruled Afghanistan must face the bitter consequences. Her journey from rebellious child to courageous teacher, acclaimed storyteller and, finally, despairing mother feels like a secret that needed to be told. Someday, Qaderi writes to her son, Siawash, from her chosen exile in California, she hopes their story will mean other Afghan mothers will not meet the same fate.

Qaderi’s childhood in Herat, occupied by Russians and later ruled by the Taliban, was fraught with violence. Bullets flew everywhere. Soldiers strode through streets and into homes. Books were forbidden for girls, and her mother “was like a spider trying to safeguard me within her web.” Her grandmother chastised her curiosity and fearlessness, but her father encouraged her. She was still a teenager when she began teaching boys and girls together, a forbidden act. Their classroom was a stifling tent that served as a mosque, and they kept their notebooks hidden in their Qurans lest Taliban soldiers found them learning instead of praying. Risking discovery and death for a few moments of youthful joy, Qaderi once even allowed dancing.

Interspersed among grim descriptions of Taliban rule and Qaderi’s heartbroken letters to her lost son are stunning passages describing the austere beauty of her homeland, which she still mourns. Yet her grief begs an even harder question: What does it take for a parent to choose hope for a greater good over their own child?

 

BAM Customer Reviews