Dancing in the Mosque: An Afghan Mother’s Letter to Her Son

Harper. Dec. 2020. 224p. ISBN 9780062970312. $24. BIOG
Qaderi’s (Silver Kabul River Girl) life has been anything but peaceful. Growing up in Hera¯t, Afghanistan, she spent long hours in the basement of her family’s home, sheltering from errant gunfire during the war with the Soviet Union. After a brief peace, warring factions emerged within the country and the Taliban soon came to the forefront, shutting down schools for girls and limiting women’s freedom. However, from childhood Qaderi harbored a spirit of rebellion and perseverance. Questioning the limitations on women and forming secret groups to advance her own writing and to teach refugee children, Qaderi persists. Her writing demonstrates her resilience in the face of wars, the Taliban, and, later, marriage to a man she meets the day of her wedding. Dancing in the Mosque is the story of Qaderi and the women of Afghanistan, penned as a love letter to the son that was taken from her after her husband divorced her.
VERDICT A shocking, heartbreaking tale of the wars and gender inequality in Afghanistan. This personal story, centered on Qaderi’s unquenchable spirit in the face of overwhelming odds, will appeal to a vast audience.
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