A House Without Windows: A Novel

Paperback | August 16, 2016

byNadia Hashimi

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A vivid, unforgettable story of an unlikely sisterhood—an emotionally powerful and haunting tale of friendship that illuminates the plight of women in a traditional culture—from the author of the bestselling The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and When the Moon Is Low.

For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful villager. But her quiet life is shattered when her husband, Kamal, is found brutally murdered with a hatchet in the courtyard of their home. Nearly catatonic with shock, Zeba is unable to account for her whereabouts at the time of his death. Her children swear their mother could not have committed such a heinous act. Kamal’s family is sure she did, and demands justice.

Barely escaping a vengeful mob, Zeba is arrested and jailed. As Zeba awaits trial, she meets a group of women whose own misfortunes have also led them to these bleak cells: thirty-year-old Nafisa, imprisoned to protect her from an honor killing; twenty-five-year-old Latifa, who ran away from home with her teenage sister but now stays in the prison because it is safe shelter; and nineteen-year-old Mezhgan, pregnant and unmarried, waiting for her lover’s family to ask for her hand in marriage. Is Zeba a cold-blooded killer, these young women wonder, or has she been imprisoned, as they have been, for breaking some social rule? For these women, the prison is both a haven and a punishment. Removed from the harsh and unforgiving world outside, they form a lively and indelible sisterhood.

Into this closed world comes Yusuf, Zeba’s Afghan-born, American-raised lawyer, whose commitment to human rights and desire to help his motherland have brought him back. With the fate of this seemingly ordinary housewife in his hands, Yusuf discovers that, like Afghanistan itself, his client may not be at all what he imagines.

A moving look at the lives of modern Afghan women, A House Without Windows is astonishing, frightening, and triumphant.

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From the Publisher

A vivid, unforgettable story of an unlikely sisterhood—an emotionally powerful and haunting tale of friendship that illuminates the plight of women in a traditional culture—from the author of the bestselling The Pearl That Broke Its Shell and When the Moon Is Low.For two decades, Zeba was a loving wife, a patient mother, and a peaceful...

From the Jacket

A vivid, spellbinding story of murder, survival, sisterhood, and a mother’s love that illuminates the plight of women in a traditional culture from the author of the bestseller The Pearl That Broke Its Shell.For most of her life Zeba has lived quietly in an Afghan village, a loyal wife and loving mother. But on one horrific day, her fa...

Afghan-American Nadia Hashimi was born and raised in New York and New Jersey. She graduated from Brandeis University with degrees in Middle Eastern Studies and Biology. She enrolled in medical school in Brooklyn and completed her pediatric training at NYU/Bellevue hospitals in New York City. The Pearl That Broke Its Shell is her debut ...

other books by Nadia Hashimi

The Pearl That Broke Its Shell: A Novel
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell: A Novel

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One Half from the East
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When the Moon Is Low: A Novel
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see all books by Nadia Hashimi
Format:PaperbackDimensions:432 pages, 9 × 6 × 1.08 inPublished:August 16, 2016Publisher:HarperCollinsLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:0062477846

ISBN - 13:9780062477842

Customer Reviews of A House Without Windows: A Novel

Reviews

Rated 3 out of 5 by from ok took a while to read this. not very captivating
Date published: 2017-01-15
Rated 5 out of 5 by from great read! I really enjoyed this book. I can't speak for the accuracy of the portrayal of the culture in Afghanistan or the conditions in the prison but I enjoyed reading about it for sure. Lots of twists and turns!
Date published: 2017-01-11
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Good, but slow Good read and a good story, however I feel like it dragged on, and did not need to be as long as it was. I found I was really into it initially, but then struggled to finish it and get through it
Date published: 2017-01-02
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Eye opening, incredibly written book Honestly, probably one of my favourite novels so far. I love the theme, the characters, the timeline, and the words are just perfect. There is a mix of farsi and english which makes it so much more interesting. Shows you how strong women are and how much patience they have. Definitely recommended.
Date published: 2016-12-29
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Read The author tried to bring to light the injustice felt by women in a certain part of the world. A world where "immorality" is just as criminal as murder--but only the immortality of women, not men. It was an interesting read and many sections of the book that were gripping. There was a lot of elements of Afghan law and culture that were discussed that made this a great read.
Date published: 2016-12-28
Rated 2 out of 5 by from i get the intention but.. I just wasn't into the characters. Clever ideas however.
Date published: 2016-12-27
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Surprised how much I enjoyed this This book managed to be a book about relationships and how we see ourselves while pretending to be about a murder. I really enjoyed how the characters fit together in this story and the way the author was able to seamlessly move from different points of view. It was also a great insight into a culture that most of us in the west assume (wrongly) to already understand. I look forward to reading more of her work in the future
Date published: 2016-12-24
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Not For Me I have read "When the Moon is Low" and loved it, however, I couldn't get into this book the same way. Too bad.
Date published: 2016-12-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Love, Love, Love! I loved this book. The author has an amazing talent in making readers love the characters, and their different upbringing. You understand the harsh reality Afghan women go through but also cannot help but fall in love with the beautiful culture. This is a must read!
Date published: 2016-12-21
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Interesting concept but poor execution A novel that unflinchingly attempts to bring attention to the deep-rooted discrimination against women inherent in Afghanistan's traditional culture and justice system, especially concerning "crimes of immorality" and the disturbing ease with which an innocent woman can dishonour her family, be charged with the serious crime of zina (sex outside of marriage), and be sentenced to decades in prison for being raped. While suffering from a sluggish, contrived plot and stilted dialogue, Hashimi's novel does raise some valid points about the treatment of women in Afghanistan's courts of law and the impact of intimate partner violence on women and their families.
Date published: 2016-12-11
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Love this Author This was another great read by Nadia Hashimi. I really enjoyed the story and learning about the characters. There was enough of a mystery to really keep you reading. Perhaps the ending is a bit unrealistic for most situations but it was a satisfying ending nonetheless.
Date published: 2016-12-08
Rated 4 out of 5 by from LOVED the book I bought this book after reading her book The Pearl that broke its shell. I find the writer writes very well and descriptive. I enjoyed both her books thus far and am looking forward to reading her other books. I highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys books about diaspora and its a must read as an eye opener for the unfair justice to women in certain parts of the world.
Date published: 2016-12-07
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Perfect Timing "I think most wives imagine their husbands dying – either out of dread or anticipation. It’s an inevitability. Why not guess at why or how it might happen?" This was my first book by Nadia Hashimi, but it certainly won’t be my last. Her prose is rich and vivid as she explores injustices endured by modern day Afghan women. Zeba, the matriarch of this story, is discovered at the scene of a crime with blood on her hands as her slain husband lays close by. Accusations of her guilt begin to fly as Zeba maintains her silence, unwilling to discuss what happened. She is arrested and sent to jail, where she develops unexpected bonds with the other female prisoners. Hashimi tackles deeply troubling issues through Zeba’s cell mates as we hear their stories and discover what brought them to the prison. These women are all essentially criminals of morality, jailed for acting in ways that society believes women should not. What is a woman’s place in Afghanistan? What is her value? A woman was only as good as the drops that fell on her wedding night, the ounces she bled with the turns of the moon, and the small river that she shed giving her husband children. There are so many layers and so much depth to this story. I also realize that there is a lot of grey area that goes unexplored here as well. This story is not a universal experience for Afghan women, but it is the story Hashimi wanted to tell. At the root, however, this is a murder mystery. Who killed Zeba’s husband? More importantly, why? Hashimi does not disappoint as she reveals the heartbreaking and infuriating events that led to his death and delivers, unexpectedly for stories of this nature, a deeply satisfying ending. I know I will be thinking about this book for a while. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 2 out of 5 by from hmmm Maybe bad timing...but I just couldn't get into this one.
Date published: 2016-12-06
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Something different It is definitely something different given the place where the story takes place, a breath of fresh air after reading all the north american literature. I love how the story is two folded and gives you a perspective of both worlds. Nice language, nice writing style.
Date published: 2016-12-02
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Okay Not bad writing but it just wasn't for me. I found it very hard to get into and idn't end up finsihing it.
Date published: 2016-11-30
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Worth a Read A little predictable but more or less what I expected.
Date published: 2016-11-24
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Great read! Really good book! It was very hard to put it down!
Date published: 2016-11-23
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Heartbreaking After reading this book, I will definitely be seeking out Hashimi's previous work. #plumreview
Date published: 2016-11-21
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Sister recommended On of my sisters has this and loved it. Will borrow from her. We have a big family so I will have to wait my turn.
Date published: 2016-11-20
Rated 5 out of 5 by from Hard to put down! You would think that the story is yet another one of those tragic/sad ones out there...NOT! "Who she is Brave is Free"!
Date published: 2016-09-12