A Fort of Nine Towers

Qais Akbar Omar

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13 March 2014
9781447221753
416 pages
Synopsis

'To read this book is to understand Afghanistan as it exists today. This haunting memoir traces the unimaginable odyssey of one family whose world has collapsed . . . Poetic, powerful, and unforgettable.' – Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns.

A true life account of growing up in Afghanistan, Qais Akbar Omar recounts his happy childhood in Kabul, his journeys with his family across Afghanistan in search of a safe haven, and life under the Taliban rule as a young man.


Qais was eleven when a brutal civil war engulfed Kabul. For Qais, it brought an abrupt end to a childhood filled with kites and cousins in his grandfather's garden: one of the most convulsive decades in Afghan history had begun. Ahead lay the rise of the Taliban, and, in 2001, the arrival of international forces.

A Fort of Nine Towers is the story of Qais, his family and their determination to survive these upheavals as they were buffeted from one part of Afghanistan to the next. Drawing strength from each other, and their culture and faith, they sought refuge for a time in the Buddha caves of Bamyan, and later with a caravan of Kuchi nomads. When they eventually returned to Kabul, it became clear that their trials were just beginning . . .

'Even more haunting than The Kite Runner, because it's not fiction.' – Philidelphia Inquirer

'Here at last is a powerful memoir that does justice to its tough, tenacious and astonishingly good-humoured people. The best thing about it . . . is that it is a book about Afghanistan written by an Afghan.' – Evening Standard

To read this book is to understand Afghanistan as it exists today. This haunting memoir traces the unimaginable odyssey of one family whose world has collapsed. But it is also a chilling ground-zero chronicle of the beleaguered nation's darkest hours of the last three decades. Poetic, powerful, and unforgettable.

Khaled Hosseini, author of The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns

'If you read only one book this summer, make it this one.' Jeanette Winterson, O Magazine

'Omar's beautifully written book is an affecting account of survival in the midst of brutality and fear, and a testament to the importance of family and friendships in a place where neighbours turned on neighbours.' Sunday Times