“Fate will make things right in the end, though only after the work has ben done, the tears have been shed and the sleepless nights have been endured”.
It was a privilege to read When the Moon is Low which will be released later this summer. Thanks to the author, Nadia Hashimi and to Harper Collins who hosted the book signing event and shared advanced copies of this moving tale of a family escaping the horrors of living in Afghanistan during the time of the Taliban. It is both a coming of age story, for the son Saleem who grows up quickly during their trek, and an example of the strength of mother trying to give her children a better life.
The novel begins by sharing the troubled childhood of Fereiba whose mother died during childbirth. She stays home from school to help run the household so her half-siblings can learn. She remains eager to learn and when her youngest sibling goes to school, she eventually attends starting in early grades with the youngest students.
Fereiba is lucky and is arranged to marry a kind, educated man. She continues her education, becoming a teacher. The couple have a family and live a happy life until he time of the Taliban. Tragedy strikes, leaving the young mother to escape Afghanistan with her young family. Fereiba and her family live as refugees and experience despair as they flee. They meet kind individuals who assist them during their long trip to England.
Fereiba and Saleem are separated in Greece. Fereiba is forced to make a difficult choice, continuing her travels to get medical care for her infant son leaving the teenaged Saleem to find his way to England independently. Traveling as refugees is dangerous especially for Saleem as he fights his way to being reunited with his family.
This is another fantastic novel by Hashimi. Reading this story reinforces how lucky we are to raise our families in Canada. The novel brings to life the terrible experiences of living with the Taliban regime in a way that makes it difficult to put the book down. I think that meeting the author made me appreciate the story more fully – knowing that her family had experienced a better life with opportunities for Hashimi (as a girl) in the United States. It is impossible not to admire this author who works to share these stories while balancing her young family, her writing and her demanding job as an emergency room paediatrician. I highly recommend both When the Moon is Low and The Pearl Who Broke Its Shell to be added to everyone’s summer reading list and look forward to Hashimi’s next novel.