Aug 15, Maggie rated it it was amazing Shelves: This is a review for the audio book. I really enjoyed this book, not knowing exactly what kind of story it would tell. The most interesting part, for me, was the setting, the cultural, historical and geographical descriptions of life in Afghanistan, and the innumerous obstacles — political, economical and cultural — for the reconstruction of a country devastated by so many wars, internal and external.
Since the author is a American diplomat who was posted in northern Afghanistan for a year, her account of life there, in the camp and in the streets or places she frequented, is really vivid and it conveyed the difficulties and perplexities this place presents to its own people and to foreign forces.
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I particularly liked how she was capable to see the plight of women and children in the day-to-day life who are basically non-existent entities to military or reconstruction teams and tried to help in a simple but fruitful way I read later that this is part of the author real experience there and I was glad she is still working to improve conditions of the Afghan people with a great insight. The narrative is also fast and fluid and helps to get you in the setting of the novel.
The narration is outstanding with an excellent range of voice and tone, improving the listener experience. Oct 16, Amy rated it liked it Shelves: A quick read set in northern Afghanistan at a time when Iraq was getting more attention. The diplomat's perspective was interesting. The heroine stands up to local warlords, saves a few lives with amazing first aid skills, and introduces solar ovens which will prevent more deforestation and allow children to go to school rather than gather firewood all day long.
The English captain strongly resembles Colin Firth's Mr. Darcy, and there's even a slick Russian intelligence agent popping up to cau A quick read set in northern Afghanistan at a time when Iraq was getting more attention. Darcy, and there's even a slick Russian intelligence agent popping up to cause trouble.
Sure, the plot sometimes feels a bit predictable and rushed at the end , but this isn't really about plot. I didn't mind that the storylines are familiar because the setting is what matters here. The author introduces some of Afghanistan's ancient history a French archeaologist is digging up Bactrian gold nearby. She also contrasts the British approach at that time "softly, softly" to a U.
Here's one thing I really appreciated about this book: She's sometimes a little too angelic to be believable, but at least she's not obsessed with her outfits, her biological clock, or some perceived slight from her mother. She's a welcome break from the women protagonists in way too many novels lately.
And I'm sure a better representation of the women working hard over there. Seems like the author's next project could be set in Russia, maybe in the wild s or even back in the Cold War days. Yes, I know, lots of authors cover this ground. But she could bring something different. I'd like to see her do more with diplomats' subtle bureaucratic maneuverings and old-fashioned witty remarks. She obviously knows that world well and might have a little fun showing it to us.
Aug 13, Susanhayeshotmail. The cover attracted my gaze at the library, the inside flap summary sounded pretty good and I enjoyed A Cup of Friendship by Deborah Rodriguez?? Kabul School of Beauty gal so I added this to my stack. Once started I was a bit disappointed to find it written in first person, a point of view which is hard to carry off really well, but I kept reading, hoping the subject matter would be enough to carry me through.
And I did find the adventures of a female diplomat posted in Afghanistan interesting. I was especially captivated and inspired by the author's passion for taking solar cooking techniques to the Afghan people google Patricia McArdle and solar cooking for more info. I remember making a solar cooker myself many years ago as a way of emergency and camp cooking.
She hit the nail on the head as to what is reported in CNN and what is not and I appreciated her insights into the international aspects of Afghanistan, particularly the glimpses into the soldier's life as well as the Afghani people. As to the romancey bits of the novel, the young people, I could believe in, my only real complaint is that I could never really buy into the main character's love interest.
You get a couple of very tiny peeks at the things that might make him human but they are so late into the story and so tiny that really, he just remained a stuffy jerk for me and perhaps not a worthy replacement for the first love of her life, the one she is still grieving deeply for after twenty years. But then romance as a genre and me have never seen eye to eye so you are free to ignore that criticism. Good read, a solid three stars, well worth the time and may solar cooking spread far and wide throughout the world.
Farishta is a compelling story that exudes the author's first-hand knowledge and experience of Afghanistan. The first-person narrator is a strong-willed woman, an American foreign service officer, who overcomes long-standing fears from a personal encounter with terrorism by facing them head on in the remote northern part of a country ravaged by decades of war. Good characters, believable dialogue.
The side story of an interpreter's romance with a woman from another tribe portrays the challenges Farishta is a compelling story that exudes the author's first-hand knowledge and experience of Afghanistan. The side story of an interpreter's romance with a woman from another tribe portrays the challenges Afghanistan faces even if peace ever arrives there. The book does a great job of taking you in country. Sep 08, Dwallace rated it it was amazing. I enjoyed the novel as it rounded out my impressions of life in Afghanistan after reading other books such as the non-fiction, The dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon and part of The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad I had trouble getting through it.
I was disturbed by the main character's treatment of his wife and the death of a young neighbor. It is always good to read a positive note in a bad situation and the solar ovens in the story that are being promoted by the author I enjoyed the novel as it rounded out my impressions of life in Afghanistan after reading other books such as the non-fiction, The dressmaker of Khair Khana by Gayle Tzemach Lemmon and part of The Bookseller of Kabul by Asne Seierstad I had trouble getting through it. It is always good to read a positive note in a bad situation and the solar ovens in the story that are being promoted by the author via Solar Cookers International, although a small thing could make a big difference in the real lives of Afghanistan women and children.
Aug 26, Grace rated it it was ok. I kept reading this book thinking that it would get more interesting. There was never really a plot and the whole love interest didn't make it any better.
I had high hopes since I had read great reviews of this book, but it never engaged me. I continued to read it till the end and ending was abrupt where a lot happened in the last few pages like if the author realized that she needed to end the story. I believe the author would have been better off writing a memoir of her time in Afghanistan ins I kept reading this book thinking that it would get more interesting.
I believe the author would have been better off writing a memoir of her time in Afghanistan instead of fiction. Sep 20, Kelly rated it really liked it. I agree with the others that this reads more like a nonfiction book than fiction, except for the love interest. And I enjoyed learning about the diplomatic service from a non-spy female. I found it suspenseful and couldn't put it down, even if it's not the best written book.
Hope she writes some more equally interesting books. Sep 03, Jyothi Jose rated it it was amazing. A story that could have been written only by someone who has experienced the diplomatic power plays of warn torn Afghanistan. Apr 11, BookSweetie rated it really liked it Shelves: Suitable for book groups.
Reader's guide questions available and recommended. Angela is a linguistically-gifted American career diplomat and widow sent to the northern Afghanistan British outpost in Mazar-i-Sharif to vet the translators. Are the paid interpreters reliable and accurate, or are they misleading their Western employers?
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Angela is not a super- career- woman who wanted the danger and excitement of Suitable for book groups. Angela is not a super- career- woman who wanted the danger and excitement of Afghanistan. On the contrary, she's emotionally scarred from a traumatic experience in her early foreign service years.
This fact, an emotionally complex main character whose emotional world rings true, added significantly to my wish to keep turning the pages.
Farishta Name Meaning & Origin
However, the overall highlight for me was a relatively minor plot thread that shines a light on solar cookstoves. Angela fictionally reflecting Patricia McArdle's real world experiences sees small children scavenging for brush for their family's cookstoves. The constant pressure for wood fuel has effectively left the forests denuded and the landscape stripped of much of its natural erosional protection. Even the orchards have been sacrificed, meaning that an earlier desirable farming economy cannot easily be revived to offer an alternative to the undesirable poppy drug crop economy.
One old pistachio nut tree outside Angela's compound is a visible reminder to Angela of what has already been lost. In contemplating what she's observed during forays outside her post, she recalls a Girl Scout solar cook stove made from cardboard and aluminum foil. Could she find a way in this impoverished, exceedingly sunny war-torn place to provide a cheap, renewable energy cook stove for the women to use? Whether the fictional character does or doesn't will become apparent to anyone who reads the book in entirety.
What some readers may miss is that the author herself in real life became involved in building and demonstrating solar cookers a la Angela Morgan and continued that mission after retirement. I was pulled into the story from the outset and did find the book eminently readable -- even memorable -- in spite of some stiffness in the relationships among the characters and an ordinary literary style. What tipped the scale is the sense of authenticity communicated successfully by an author drawing from relevant personal experience as a retired American diplomat who herself had been posted in northern Afghanistan.
Additionally, I very much enjoyed the young interpreter Rahim as well as his side interest in the archeology and history of his country. Check out the author's web page www. During our book group discussion, a member mentioned that as she was reading she had wondered what was true and what was not.
The FAQ at the author's web page helps clarify that very issue.
Aug 02, Kate Z rated it liked it. I would give this book more like 3. It was "fine" but I was disappointed by Farishta. Angela Morgan spends the year in a Provincial Reconstruction Team PRT in the northern part of Afghanistan during when there isn't much fighting in that region there's a war to the south in Iraq but the American operation in Afganistan at that time was called "Enduring Freedom" and this was the year of the first provincial elections. What I liked about the book was its unpoliticized presentation of the country, its people and its challenges fuel for cooking!
I was disappointed that the book took the love story route - both with the Mark Davies plot line and with the somewhat more political "Romeo and Juliet" story of Rashim, Angela's "terp" Interpreter and Nilofar, a female university student in Mazar-i-Sharif who is very active in women's issues.
This is one of those books that I wouldn't try to discourage someone from reading but I don't see any reason to specifically recommend it. Jul 06, Dawn rated it really liked it. I finished this yesterday - really enjoyed the book. The author did a good job of giving a taste of what it is like living in a camp in Afghanistan as a diplomat.
Farishta () - IMDb
While the Foreign Service sounds like a glamorous career, in many ways it seems like a very boring job. I was very impressed with her insight into solar ovens and the work she began doing in this area. I gained new knowledge of some of the difficulties foreigners have in understanding the thinking and culture of the people and admire t I finished this yesterday - really enjoyed the book.
I gained new knowledge of some of the difficulties foreigners have in understanding the thinking and culture of the people and admire those who are trying to work in this part of the world. My only complaint has to do with the other major character, Mark. He was portrayed as too much of an ass for me to believe in their romantic relationship - I didn't like him at the beginning and did not like him by the end.
My only criticism is that he could have been portrayed as a bit more likable and believable love interest as I could not imagine falling for such an arrogant, prudish jerk. Aug 02, NA Fronczak rated it it was amazing.
I really enjoyed this book. She spent the next 20 years avoiding diplomatic postings and promotions in the State Department. She is given the ultimatum to accept a posting in Afghanistan or retire early. She is the only woman stationed in a British outpost in northern Afghanistan and this book is the story of her one year assignment there. The author is a retir I really enjoyed this book. The author is a retired American diplomat who was posted in northern Afghanistan for a year, so although this is a work of fiction, there is some some reality behind the story. If you are interested in the culture of Afghanistan, you should read this book.
Nov 16, Pr Latta rated it really liked it Recommended to Pr by: Patricia McArdle, a retired Foreign Service Officer served in Afghanistan and has written a fictional representation of her experiences, presented chronologically with a straightforward narrative. This was a compulsive read for me. I spent quite a bit of time guessing how much was fictional and what was real and want to have McArdle over for dinner.
Jun 22, Bea rated it liked it. It started out reading like a memoir by a lady diplomat who is sent to Afghanistan for a year, all the problems she encountered simply be being a women, with both the British military she has to live with and the Afghanistan culture. It seemed like non-fiction for a while. I even started to look through the book to see if there were any pictures, then remembered it was fiction.
But then it turned into a romance novel and it lost my interest. Could have been much better. Dec 06, Mary rated it really liked it. Fascinating novel about a female diplomat in Afganistan, written by Patricia McArdle based on her experience there. Very well written giving a view of the complicated issues facing the US and our allies as we intervene in that society. The story line of the developing romance of the main character and one of her British colleagues helps the flow and does not detract.
Mar 06, Jo rated it really liked it.
'Farishta': Afghan Fiction From The Foreign Service
Her experiences in Afghanistan provided inspiration for her first novel, Farishta. Riverhead Hardcover hide caption. In Farishta, McArdle also addresses what she views as the misallocation of American resources. McArdle cites a Department of Energy report which shows that Afghanistan has abundant natural resources that could be developed. Instead of importing American building and farming techniques, McArdle feels that the U.
We should be helping them with organic techniques In the wake of Osama bin-Laden's death, many Americans are calling for the end of the United States' nearly year involvement in Afghanistan. It's a beautiful country.
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The first ring jarred me awake seconds before my forehead hit the keyboard. I inched slowly back in my chair, hoping no one had noticed me dozing off. Narrowing my eyes against the flat glare of the ceiling lights, I scanned the long row of cubicles behind me. It was almost seven thirty. If irrational fear could still paralyze me like this after all these years, then perhaps it really was time to give up. It was little things. Tonight it was a telephone call. My computer beeped and coughed up two messages from the U. I ignored them and began taking slow, measured breaths.
He was stammering, obviously surprised that anyone in the Central American division at the State Department would pick up the phone this late on a Friday evening. I had apparently upset his plan to leave a voice message that I wouldn't hear until Monday morning.
It's been a long time. The wish list I'd submitted to personnel for my next overseas diplomatic posting had been, in order of preference: I'd thrown in Kabul at the last minute, thinking it would demonstrate that I was a team player and increase my chances for the London assignment. But they would never send me to Kabul, not after what had happened in Beirut.
I could hear him breathing through his nose into the phone like an old man with asthma. He sounded almost as nervous as I felt. Not a good sign. Was I being sent south of the border again just because I spoke Spanish? But why would that make Marty nervous? Before I retired or was forced out of the Foreign Service for not getting promoted fast enough, I was hoping for just one tour of duty in Western Europe.
Foreign Service Officers, like military officers, must compete against their colleagues of similar rank for the limited number of promotions available each year. Consistently low performers are drummed out long before reaching the traditional retirement age of sixty-five. I desperately wanted an assignment in London, but I'd settle for Madrid. After all I'd been through — I deserved it. My pulse and breathing were returning to normal. Tough times — a dead husband and a bloody miscarriage. Yeah, those were definitely tough times, I thought, looking over at the small silver-framed photo of Tom and me.
Our knees were touching. His horse was nuzzling mine.
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