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A Door in the Earth
by Amy Waldman




Overview -
From the bestselling author of The Submission A young Afghan-American woman is trapped between her ideals and the complicated truth in this "penetrating" (O, Oprah Magazine), "stealthily suspenseful," (Booklist, starred review), "breathtaking and achingly nuanced" (Kirkus, starred review) novel.

Parveen Shams, a college senior in search of a calling, feels pulled between her charismatic and mercurial anthropology professor and the comfortable but predictable Afghan-American community in her Northern California hometown. When she discovers a bestselling book called Mother Afghanistan, a memoir by humanitarian Gideon Crane that has become a bible for American engagement in the country, she is inspired. Galvanized by Crane's experience, Parveen travels to a remote village in the land of her birth to join the work of his charitable foundation.

When she arrives, however, Crane's maternity clinic, while grandly equipped, is mostly unstaffed. The villagers do not exhibit the gratitude she expected to receive. And Crane's memoir appears to be littered with mistakes, or outright fabrications. As the reasons for Parveen's pilgrimage crumble beneath her, the U.S. military, also drawn by Crane's book, turns up to pave the solde road to the village, bringing the war in their wake. When a fatal ambush occurs, Parveen must decide whether her loyalties lie with the villagers or the soldiers -- and she must determine her own relationship to the truth.

Amy Waldman, who reported from Afghanistan for the New York Times after 9/11, has created a taut, propulsive novel about power, perspective, and idealism, brushing aside the dust of America's longest-standing war to reveal the complicated truths beneath. A Door in the Earth is the rarest of books, one that helps us understand living history through poignant characters and unforgettable storytelling.

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More About A Door in the Earth by Amy Waldman

 
 
 

Overview

From the bestselling author of The Submission A young Afghan-American woman is trapped between her ideals and the complicated truth in this "penetrating" (O, Oprah Magazine), "stealthily suspenseful," (Booklist, starred review), "breathtaking and achingly nuanced" (Kirkus, starred review) novel.

Parveen Shams, a college senior in search of a calling, feels pulled between her charismatic and mercurial anthropology professor and the comfortable but predictable Afghan-American community in her Northern California hometown. When she discovers a bestselling book called Mother Afghanistan, a memoir by humanitarian Gideon Crane that has become a bible for American engagement in the country, she is inspired. Galvanized by Crane's experience, Parveen travels to a remote village in the land of her birth to join the work of his charitable foundation.

When she arrives, however, Crane's maternity clinic, while grandly equipped, is mostly unstaffed. The villagers do not exhibit the gratitude she expected to receive. And Crane's memoir appears to be littered with mistakes, or outright fabrications. As the reasons for Parveen's pilgrimage crumble beneath her, the U.S. military, also drawn by Crane's book, turns up to pave the solde road to the village, bringing the war in their wake. When a fatal ambush occurs, Parveen must decide whether her loyalties lie with the villagers or the soldiers -- and she must determine her own relationship to the truth.

Amy Waldman, who reported from Afghanistan for the New York Times after 9/11, has created a taut, propulsive novel about power, perspective, and idealism, brushing aside the dust of America's longest-standing war to reveal the complicated truths beneath. A Door in the Earth is the rarest of books, one that helps us understand living history through poignant characters and unforgettable storytelling.

 

Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780316451574
  • ISBN-10: 0316451576
  • Publisher: Little Brown and Company
  • Publish Date: August 2019
  • Page Count: 400
  • Dimensions: 9.3 x 6 x 1.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.35 pounds


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BookPage Reviews

A Door in the Earth

Former New York Times reporter Amy Waldman left an indelible imprint on readers with her debut, The Submission, which examined the fallout of 9/11 at Ground Zero. Eight years later, Waldman returns with an even more ambitious novel, A Door in the Earth, which proves to be as politically provocative and challenging as its predecessor.

Drawing on her years based in Afghanistan, Waldman takes readers deep into the heart of the country, transporting us to a remote and largely unremarkable village, ringed by mountains far from the ongoing military conflicts that make headlines overseas. Guiding us is Parveen Shamsa, an earnest medical anthropologist who has recently graduated from Berkley. Inspired by a fictional bestselling memoir by Dr. Gideon Crane, which shed light on the abysmal state of women’s health in Afghanistan, Parveen has left the comforts of home in California to volunteer at the women’s clinic established by Dr. Crane and to reconnect with her own Afghan heritage. 

Unfortunately, the reality of life in the village as well as increasing doubts about the veracity of Crane’s book slowly disabuse Parveen of her youthful naivety, pulling back the veil of her innocence and privilege. When American troops turn their attention to the village, also owing to Crane’s memoir, and begin to pave a road to improve access, this seemingly benign action triggers devastating results for both Parveen and the villagers.

A Door in the Earth is a deeply chilling, multifaceted examination of not just the situation in Afghanistan but also the more pernicious and complex consequences of awakening the sleeping giant that is America and receiving its attentions—whether benevolent or not. Waldman plays out Newton’s third law of motion on the human scale, demonstrating that for every action, there is always an equal and opposite reaction. As Parveen learns a little too late, “there is no such thing as an innocuous interaction: there were always repercussions, always collateral damage, for others.”

 

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