Tuesday, July 28, 2015

When the Moon Is Low by Nadia Hashimi - Excerpt + a Giveaway

Last week marked the release of When the Moon Is Low, the second novel by Nadia Hashimi. So far it's garnered some impressive reviews and praise, earning a starred review in Library Journal and a spot on O Magazine's "The Season's Best: Tales of Ladies on the Move" list. I'll be planning a review post soon, but thanks to the publisher I've got a little excerpt of the book for you today and a copy to give away as well.

First, though, here's a little about the book from Goodreads:

Mahmoud's passion for his wife Fereiba, a schoolteacher, is greater than any love she's ever known. But their happy, middle-class world—a life of education, work, and comfort—implodes when their country is engulfed in war, and the Taliban rises to power.

Mahmoud, a civil engineer, becomes a target of the new fundamentalist regime and is murdered. Forced to flee Kabul with her three children, Fereiba has one hope to survive: she must find a way to cross Europe and reach her sister's family in England. With forged papers and help from kind strangers they meet along the way, Fereiba make a dangerous crossing into Iran under cover of darkness. Exhausted and brokenhearted but undefeated, Fereiba manages to smuggle them as far as Greece. But in a busy market square, their fate takes a frightening turn when her teenage son, Saleem, becomes separated from the rest of the family.

Faced with an impossible choice, Fereiba pushes on with her daughter and baby, while Saleem falls into the shadowy underground network of undocumented Afghans who haunt the streets of Europe's capitals. Across the continent Fereiba and Saleem struggle to reunite, and ultimately find a place where they can begin to reconstruct their lives.

I've absolutely no doubt that When the Moon Is Low will be a powerful and emotional read. 

When the Moon Is Low
Nadia Hashimi

(Excerpt from Chapter 16)

I had to get my family out of Kabul.

With Mahmood gone, there was nothing left for us. We would almost certainly starve once the money ran out. The imminent arrival of our third child complicated matters.

Samira had not spoken since the afternoon of Raisa and Abdul Rahim’s visit. She gave her answers in nods and gestures. I spoke softly with her, trying to coax the words from her lips but Samira remained silent.

I found Saleem in our bedroom, staring at his father’s belongings. Unaware of my presence, he touched the pants, brought a shirt to his cheek and laid the pieces out on the floor as if trying to imagine his father in it. He picked up Mahmood’s watch from the nightstand and turned it over in his hand. He slipped it on his wrist and pulled his sleeve over it. It was a private moment between father and son so I snuck back down the hall before he realized I’d been watching.

My son thought I was too wrapped up in my own grief to know what he suffered but I observed it all. I saw him kick the tree behind our house until he fell into a tearful heap, his toes so bruised and swollen that he winced with each step for a week. I held him when he allowed me but if I started to speak, he would slip away. It was too soon.

If I thought of my last exchange with Mahmood, so did Saleem. I could see the remorse on his face as clearly as I felt it in my heart. We would have done things differently, Saleem and I. We would have had much more to say.

From what Abdul Rahim was able to gather, the local Taliban had decided to make an example of Mahmood Haidari. The rest of the family would not be targeted, he believed, but no one could say with any certainty. Even in the light of day, there was little certainty in Kabul. The cloak of night made all things possible.

I couldn’t bear to have my children out of my sight. I sent Saleem on errands to the marketplace only when I was truly desperate. Just one month after the news of Mahmood’s assassination, my belly began to ache. At first, I thought it might be the balmy winter air bringing a cramp but as I walked from room to room, the familiar pains became clearer. 

I paced the room, my lips pursed and my steps slow.

“Nine months, nine days…nine months, nine days…” I repeated softly.

Just a few hours later, Raisa coaxed my third child into the world. I named him Aziz.

“Saleem and Samira,” I managed to get out. “Meet your father’s son.” 

Big thanks to the folks at William Morrow for providing the excerpt today! And now for the giveaway. To enter just fill out the Rafflecopter below before Monday, August 10. Open US only and no PO boxes please.   


traveler said...

Thanks for this unforgettable and captivating giveaway. saubleb(at)gmail(dot)com

Unknown said...

Sounds kind of heart wrenching. I can't imagine what it would mean to need to flee from a war-torn country.
@dino0726 from 
FictionZeal - Impartial, Straighforward Fiction Book Reviews

Terry said...

This sounds like an intense and interesting read. I love fiction set in other countries. Thanks for the information about this new release.