Literary Quote of the Month

"A reader lives a thousand lives before he dies," said Jojen. "The man who never reads lives only one." - George R.R. Martin, A Dance With Dragons

Monday, November 4, 2013

Memoir Monday & An American Bride in Kabul by Phyllis Chesler

Memoir Monday returns with a book that drops us into the heart of Afghanistan and in the life of a new bride. This bride is American though and Jewish as well. It is not simply a memoir of a young woman who falls in love and discovers afterwards the cultural differences that exist between her and her husband's family, An American Bride in Kabul is about the rights of women. Phyllis Chesler is a fierce supporter of women's rights, especially in Afghanistan, the Country where she once was captive. After 50 years, she has finally written her account of her marriage and life in Kabul.

An American Bride in Kabul by Phyllis Chesler... From the author's website: The dramatic, riveting, and timely tale of how one woman's harrowing ordeal in a harem in Afghanistan shaped her into a modern feminist leader and life-long defender of human rights. Eighteen years old and in love, Phyllis Chesler, a Jewish-American girl from Brooklyn, embarked on a passionate love affair with a glamorous foreign student, which led Chesler to her destiny and nearly to her death in Kabul —and to a journey which has lasted for more than half a century. Upon arrival, Afghan authorities seized her American passport, and Chesler found herself trapped as the property of her husband's polygamous family, without an ally and without any rights. Despite her seclusion, her mother-in-law's campaign to convert her from Judaism to Islam, and her husband's wish to permanently tie her to the country through childbirth, she escaped. Yet these lovers, a Muslim and a Jew, have remained connected ever since. Chesler draws upon personal diaries, correspondence, memories, and research in this vivid and eye-opening account of what she learned about central Asia and the nature of gender apartheid. Though she nearly died in Afghanistan, Phyllis nostalgically recreates this beautiful, ancient, and exotic culture and country, including its Buddhist and Jewish history. An American Bride in Kabul is the story of how a na├»ve American girl learned to see the world through eastern as well as western eyes. She re-creates a time gone by, a place that is no more, and shares the way in which Chesler turned adversity into a passion for freedom and women's rights.

This is not the first American woman to discover the cultural differences in a country new to her, but Phyllis Chesler's story puts us in the heart of these differences as a young bride dealing not only with her new Country, but her new family and what is expected of her, in what seems to be a total turnaround from the loving relationship she had with her new bridegroom. And even with all that had happened between them, the relationship between the author and her ex still seems to exist. I look forward to reading An American Bride in Kabul to learn how this woman survives her ordeal, but also to learn more about the culture of the country that Phllis Chesler also shares in her account. This book was released in early October by Palgrave Macmillan, and is available in Hardcover , Kindle and Nook Book.

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