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When I bought this book I was expecting something like The Kite Runner and a Thousand Splendid Suns, I was a little put off by the title of the novel This book is nothing like the Kite Runner and I found it really entertaining, informative and a very intersting insight into Afghan Coulture and how they view western coulture This story is told through the eyes of a young boy Fawad The operning two sentances of the book had me totally hooked My name is Fawad and my mother tells me I was born under the shadow of the Taliban Because she said noI imagined her stepping out of the sunshine and into the dark crouching in a corner to protect the stomach that was hiding me, whilst a man with a stick watched over us, ready to beat me into the world and this is the wit that runs throughout the book and yet there are many serious issues in the book.I loved the characters in this book and found them engaging,this is a quick read and the story flows along.The only couple of flaws I found with the book was that at times I felt for a boy of 11 Fawad s character is a little unconvincing.I did enjoy the novel and while it is not a Thousand Splendid Suns or the Kite Runner, it is a great read and I enjoyed it, it is a book I would recommend to friends. In Born under a Million Shadows, Andrea Busfield does several things well that make this novel work for me First and foremost she effectively conveys a fascination and beauty of a country which in my mind had so far been equated with images of war and burkas Upon reading Fawad s story and those of his friends and family I feel that I ve been properly acquainted with Afghanistan now Busfield is a journalist who has traveled to Afghanistan and in her author s notes in the back of the book , she writes that during her trips there, she encountered Afghan children who helped feed their families by begging from or catering to tourists and other Westerners One little boy in particular, Fawad, was so charming and intelligent, that she decided to name her protagonist after him The Fawad of her book is funny, devious, very bright and certainly charmed me Through his eyes we see what it means to be an Afghan, to possess indomitable spirit and humor in the face of much hardship The story as it unfolds is told from Fawad s perspective and this is where Busfield also succeeds A strong and compelling voice can be hard to pull off in this case Fawad s voice won me over completelyMy name is Fawad and my mother tells me I was born under the shadow of the Taliban Because she said no , I imagined her stepping out of the sunshine and into the dark, crouching in a corner to protect the stomach that was hiding me, while a man with a stick watched over us, ready to beat me into the world All of us were born during the time of the Taliban, but I only heard my mother talk of them as men making shadows, so I guess if she d ever learned to write she might have been a poet Instead, and as Allah willed it, she swept the floors of the rich for a handful of afs that she hid in her clothes and guarded through the night There are thieves everywhere, she would hiss, and angry whisper that tied the points of her eyebrows together And of course she was right I was one of them It is clear that Busfield writes from experience and a Westerner s love for Afghanistan but she does not skim over the troubling issues, which are embodied by the difficult love affair between Georgie, the Englishwoman who shelters Fawad and his mother, and Haji Khan, an enigmatic and powerful Afghan man Both Georgie and Haji Khan are making it their life s work to rebuild Afghanistan They have a shared mission and they love each other passionately but theirs is an impossible situation as they would have to overcome too many cultural and religious obstacles to be with one another In addition to being the emotional touchstone of the story, through Fawad, we also get a simplified and probably biased view of the politics and modern history of Afghanistan, how the Taliban rose to power, what happened under their rule, and what life is like there today Amazingly, Busfield manages to intertwine these complicated issues with the narrative without overwhelming it Born under a Million Shadows immersed me in the culture of modern day Afghanistan and the heart and soul of its people in a colorful and touching story. What happened here was that Andrea Busfield took a crap book The Kite Runner and wrote a cheap knock off of it It was such a blatant example if you liked that, read this than I don t think anyone is even pretending that there was anything other trying to cash in on The Kite Runner s success.Andrea Busfield is a British journalist who spent some time in Afghanistan, so her research at least goes beyond the Wikipedia but unfortunately she doesn t know how to use it and she makes her child narrator bizarrely culturally self aware pronouncing various statements about Afghan culture and making poignant comparisons between the West and Afghanistan It is occasionally entertaining and the plot is coherent But that s as generous as I m going to be.PS Don t even get me started on the super tacky title. You know the old adage about the sum being greater than the whole of its parts Well, Born Under a Million Shadows is one of those books, for me, where the individual parts are much greater than the sum This highly praised coming of age story has it all rich multicultural details, a fascinating socio political landscape, colorful characters, unexpected humor, and touching moments of beauty, tenderness, and domesticity Why, then, did I find the book completely unaffecting The entire time I read the novel, I kept asking myself, Why don t you like this book as much as you feel you should like it I think the biggest problem I had with the book was the narrative voice I understand that Fawad, the eleven year old narrator, has seen some horrific things in his short life, things that undoubtedly gave him a worldly and rather adult perspective The problem is that for most of the book, I simply didn t believe that the story was being told by an eleven year old Rather, it felt like a thirty something year old recounting his formative years, a memory piece being written in the present tense There are moments of incredible charm and believability in the narrative as written, but Fawad is simply too omniscient and philosophical to be a believable young narrator I know it may seem nitpicky to have this one small element dictate my entire response to a novel, but I strongly feel that when an author asks a reader to buy into a narrative conceit, they have a responsibility to that conceit Busfield delivers in many, many ways, but I found her primary storytelling device disorienting and too great a pill to swallow. ( Download Book ) ♠ Born Under a Million Shadows ⚇ The Taliban Have Disappeared From Kabul S Streets, But The Long Shadows Of Their Brutal Regime Remain In His Short Life Eleven Year Old Fawad Has Known Grief Than Most His Father And Brother Have Been Killed, His Sister Has Been Abducted, And Fawad And His Mother, Mariya, Must Rely On The Charity Of Family To Eke Out A Hand To Mouth ExistenceThen Mariya Finds A Position As Housekeeper For A Charismatic Western Woman, Georgie, And Fawad Dares To Hope For An End To Their Struggle He Soon Discovers That His Beloved Georgie Is Caught Up In A Dangerous Love Affair With The Powerful Afghan Warlord Haji Khan, A Legendary Name On The Streets Of Kabul At First Resentful Of Haji Khan S Presence, Fawad Learns That Love Can Move A Man To Act In Surprising Ways, And An Overwhelming Act Of Generosity Persuades Him Of The Warlord S Good IntentionsBut Even A Man As Influential As Haji Khan Can T Protect Fawad From The Next Tragedy To Blight His Young Life, A Tragedy So Devastating That It Threatens To Destroy The One Thing Fawad Thought He Could Never Lose His Love For His Country It s a very interesting setting for a novel and I learned a lot about Afghanistan However, I felt that the plot was aimless It s an easy book to read, but I never felt caught up in it I d describe it as okay, but not a standout for me. This was kind of a coming of age story about a boy in Afghanistan I thought it was going to be good but I just didn t care for it I didn t like the narrative voice because I thought it was completely unbelievable there wasn t a good balance between childhood naivete and the grown up kind of insights in a coming of age story I ended up just being bored by it And the ending way too much of a fairytale to sit well with me. Third in my Afghani series Getting past the title was hard where was the editor on that one and the first chapter or two read like a first novel which it is by someone writing outside her culture I had a hard time at first believing the narrator was male i.e, separate from author , but once we got past those tiny bits of housekeeping, a real story began to evolve I started enjoying the Afghan names Haji Khan, for instance, which I sometimes read aloud just because it was fun and Spandi, who is named for a kind of canned meat The caricatured ex patriates James the journalist who sleeps all day, May the lesbian who falls for French Philippe grewbelievable as the book went along, sort of like in laws you one day realize you actually like But it was the love affair between Georgia and Khalid Khan that really drew me in It s fraught with difficulties different cultures, different religious, poppy issues and then that ever so inconvenient war with America and I don t want to spoil the ending, but when Khalid Khan tells an Englishman who s moping around Georgie to get lost, hecause he, Khan, IS Georgie and she is in him, down to his teeth.well, that line got me I knew just what he meant. MAJOR SPOILERS I really don t know what else to say but this book was amazing I m Afghan and have read many books about Afghanistan, but this is the only one that has made me feel like I m back there I didn t want the book to end because I loved it so much I loved how the author made a little boy the narrator and I thought she did an excellent job writing as him I read a lot of reviews that didn t feel that way, but Afghanistan has a life expectancy of only 60, and kids grow up very quickly I thought this book was a million times better than the Kite Runner, and A Thousand Splendid Suns I thought the plot of this novel was really good it follows Fawad, a ten or eleven year old Afghan boy from Paghman who lives with his mom and aunt When his mother finds a job as a maid in an expat house, he starts to observe how the foreigners act around him and he starts to feel a connection with one of the English expats, Georgie As we find out later Georgie is in love with an Afghan man from Jalalabad I thought the plot was quite original and I was so happy the author didn t show Afghan men as crazy women hating animals because I am so sick of reading books about how much Afghans hate women The Arthur also doesn t demonize Islam and even has Georgie convert to Islam at the end I thought the plot was awesome, and her descriptions of Afghanistan were amazing, she was spot on The way she described Kabul as I said made me feel like I was back there I will admit there were some corny parts, for example when Fawad s missing sister comes back but for the most part everything was well written and there were no jarring clich s or plot holes that took me out of the story I really don t know what else to say other than I really liked this book and I want to read it again. When I first saw the book in borders, I read that it was written by a British journalist, and that made me judge it An outsider, that was my first thought I started the book with no expectations, and as I progressed through the book I didn t really find any character to be original or one that I found real, except perhaps Fawad s mother She has been through a lot and yet she s survived and her main concern in life is her son, I found her most believable As for her son, Fawad, I found him to be very predictable, a young kid who wanted to protect all the women in his life, by just saying that about him it s obvious that the author put him in a typical character.If you are wondering, yes this review is going to be all criticizing the book because frankly I didn t like it How about the perfect Afghan man Who s the most typical middle eastern man, and guess who s in love with him A British woman I can go on and on about how typical I found the book, yes I did learn things about day to day Afghanistan but other than that I can t say the book had a real solid message, even if it did, I didn t grasp it Because the book dealt with a big topic but it wasn t handled the way it should have been.