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An Afghan woman's life expectancy is just 44 years, and her life cycle often begins and ends in disappointment: being born a girl and finally, having a daughter of her own. For some, disguising themselves as boys is the only way to get ahead. Nordberg follows women such as Azita Rafaat, a parliamentarian who once lived as a Bacha Posh, the mother of seven-year-old Mehran, who she is raising as a Bacha Posh as well, but for different reasons than in the past. There's Zahra, a teenage student living as a boy who is about to display signs of womanhood as she enters puberty. And Skukria, a hospital nurse who remained in a bacha posh disguise until she was 20, and who now has three children of her own. Exploring the historical and religious roots of this tradition, The Underground Girls of Kabul is a fascinating and moving narrative that speaks to the roots of gender.
Little, Brown Book Group
Number of Pages
Nordberg's subtle, sympathetic reportage makes this one of the most convincing portraits of Afghan culture in print Publishers Weekly Five years of research, and an almost novelistic approach to her findings, has produced a book full of fresh stories -- Razia Iqbal Independent Nordberg's hopeful yet heart-breaking account offers a dazzling picture of Afghan life ... She is refreshingly non-judgmental ... Thanks to this book, a little more light has been shone on a country and society so often misunderstood Independent on Sunday Partly a reflection on the politics of sex and gender ... but it is also a tale of discovery Sunday Telegraph a fascinating study The Glasgow Herald This fascinating study sheds new light on what it's like to be female in the country declared the worst in the world to be a woman ... This powerful account of powerlessness resonates with the most silenced voices in society Observer