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The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland

The Storyteller s Daughter One Woman s Return to Her Lost Homeland The vivid often startling memoir of a young woman shaped by two dramatically disparate worlds Saira Shah is the English born daughter of an Afghan aristocrat inspired by his dazzling stories to redi

  • Title: The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland
  • Author: Saira Shah
  • ISBN: 9781400031474
  • Page: 355
  • Format: Paperback
  • The vivid, often startling memoir of a young woman shaped by two dramatically disparate worlds Saira Shah is the English born daughter of an Afghan aristocrat, inspired by his dazzling stories to rediscover the now lost life their forebears presided over for nine hundred years within sight of the minarets and lush gardens of Kabul and the snow topped mountains of the HindThe vivid, often startling memoir of a young woman shaped by two dramatically disparate worlds Saira Shah is the English born daughter of an Afghan aristocrat, inspired by his dazzling stories to rediscover the now lost life their forebears presided over for nine hundred years within sight of the minarets and lush gardens of Kabul and the snow topped mountains of the Hindu Kush Part sophisticated, sensitive Western liberal, part fearless, passionate Afghan, falling in love with her ancestral myth chasing Afghanistan Shah becomes, at twenty one, a correspondent at the front of the war between the Soviets and the Afghan resistance Then, imprisoning herself in a burqa, she risks her life to film Beneath the Veil, her acclaimed record of the devastation of women s lives by the Taliban Discovering her extended family, discovering a world of intense family ritual, of community, of male primacy, of arranged marriages, and finding at last the now war ravaged family seat, she discovers as well what she wants and what she rejects of her extraordinary heritage.About the Author Saira Shah lives in London and is a freelance journalist She was born in Britain of an Afghan family, the daughter of Idries Shah, a writer of Sufi fables She first visited Afghanistan at age twenty one and worked there for three years as a freelance journalist, covering the guerilla war against the Soviet occupiers Later, working for Britain s Channel 4 News, she covered some of the world s most troubled spots, including Algeria, Kosovo, and Kinshasa, as well as Baghdad and other parts of the Middle East Her documentary Beneath the Veil was broadcast on CNN.

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      Published :2018-05-10T18:16:12+00:00

    1 thought on “The Storyteller's Daughter: One Woman's Return to Her Lost Homeland

    1. This book is a MUST-READ! If I could give it more than 5 stars I would. Why? Because it is a marvelous balancing act of the stories, myths and philosophical beliefs of Afghanistan and a clear presentation of historical facts, Afghanistan's passage from the Soviet take-over in 1980 to the mujahidin control 1992-1996 and thereafter Afghanistan under the Talibans through 2001 and 9/11. The author's struggle wih her own Afghan identity is a very important part of the book. It helps the reader furthe [...]

    2. I came across this book by chance, and have been riveted by it. As Saira Shah's journeys into Afghanistan lead her to see into, then beyond, her romantic dreams of its culture, we accompany her step by step. Her writing is vivid and immediate, capturing images of individuals, war in mountains and in towns and the many ways in which strong traditional ties hold people into place like great steel cables.It is no mean achievement that the her insights remain fresh and relevant even though the book [...]

    3. This book was very eye-opening. I loved the insights about the Afghani myths and culture. However, by the end of the book, I was really tired about listening to her wax philosophical and whiny about how she couldn't reconcile her eastern heritage with her western upbringing, and about how she couldn't find herself, when there were actual atrocities and horrors unfolding all around her. At one point, after she had knowingly dishonored her family and her beloved uncle by moving in with her boyfrie [...]

    4. A well-done memoir of a young woman seeking her roots, restless in the land where she was born (in Britain) but feeling very much at home in the land of her forefathers - Afghanistan. Saira Shah recalls the stories her father shared with her and her siblings growing up - about his parents and the land of beautiful mountains, crisp streams, the wonderful food and the warmth and camaraderie of family and friends. She was fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit Afghanistan as a young girl an [...]

    5. An elegy for Afghanistan by a journalist who was there during the war with Russia and went back after the towers were destroyed; unlike a lot of these books, it was written by someone of Afghani descent, the daughter of Idries Shah, who did so much to popularize Sufism in the West. So, in addition to the appalling stories and tales of Western misunderstanding, Saira Shah explores her roots, grapples with her love for the country of her ancestors, and finds her relatives. The relatives, by the wa [...]

    6. It's hard to know what to say about this book. I said a lot of it in the journal entry for the audio version. I am so glad I was introduced to this book. It's such a great "Current Events" class without all the traditional dry "clip an article from the paper and come to class prepared to talk about it". I don't know if it makes sense or not, but one of the things about this book that resonates with me is her desire to call a country her own. My dad was in the (American) Air Force, and although I [...]

    7. Liked the historical aspect of the book but author's personal journey lacked real depth for my interest. It seemed like a soul searching channel 4 news report - and how soul searching does that ever get?!

    8. Growing up in Kent, England, Saira Shah was a long way from her parents' homeland, Afghanistan. But her father's stories steeped her in the culture of the old country, and she yearned to visit the magic kingdom that she was sure was her true home. From her first visit at seventeen, she was hooked, even though the reality of Afghanistan she found as a journalist was very different from the beautiful dream she chased. Embedding herself with the mujahidin who fought the invading Soviet troops, she [...]

    9. English born Saira Shah's was weaned on her father's stories of a lush and majestic land, instilling in her the desire to search for her Afghani roots. As an adult her longing to find her ancestral land takes her into the violence and upheaval of an Afghanistan torn apart by years of invaders. It's a difficult, though moving, story of the time she spent as a journalist in a land she beautifully describes. I now have a much better grasp of Afghanistan's convoluted history and the mindset of it's [...]

    10. This documents the journey of a 21 year old journalist who seeks to "reconcile my incompatible world's of East and West." Her memoir is moving, very interesting and remarkably mature.

    11. I didn't know anything about the author before reading this book. I'd heard of her documentary Beneath the Veil, but have not watched it. Therefore, I didn't have any previously established expectations coming into this book.What surprised me is how much more of an identity narrative it was than a discussion of events (several of them extraordinary) that the author experienced. And because I didn't pick up the book to read about that -- I picked up the book in an effort to learn and understand m [...]

    12. Part memoir, part reportage, this beautifully written book is also an inquiry into the nature of myth, identity, and the limits of human endurance. Born in England and raised on the memories of her Afghan father's homeland, the author journeys as a young journalist to Afghanistan during the Soviet Occupation in the 1980s, traveling with the mujahidin rebels, who with massive infusions of weapons from the CIA eventually drive out the Russians and then quickly succumb again to an equally destructi [...]

    13. This is a remarkable book, Saira Shah takes us on a journey from an English childhood, laced with Afghan myths handed down from her father, to the terrors and complexities of present-day Afghanistan at eh end of it you are left with the truest sense of this magical country together with the recognition that exceptional English writer is also unmistakably AfghaniThe book is alive with detail, emotion, myth, fable, bleeding reality and the author's struggle with her different selves; mild-mannered [...]

    14. So this book made it clear to me that I knew little of Afghanistan with any real understanding. I had read The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns, but I still didn't have a clear picture of all the various ethnic groups and struggles that have taken place during the past 30+ years. This book was beautiful and horrid and confusing all at the same time. It was hard for me to keep track of all the places and people, but that just added to my understanding of the chaos that has ensued there. W [...]

    15. This book did enrich my understanding of the Afghan culture, mostly post Soviet invasion. But I did struggle a bit with her preoccupation of stalking the Afghan myth that she grew up which was mostly dispelled by the end of the book, and her seeming lack of sensitivity to the overwhelming suffering she must have encountered. Maybe she felt it but did not express it - who knows. But I do greatly admire her incredible courage - this is one very brave woman.

    16. The story tellers daughter tells you what was really going on in Afghanistan.'When you meddle with the foundations of society, the whole structure tumbles down. The woman were the bricks at the bottom of the pile. No wonder the city is just a pile of rubbish.'It is finely written and deeply disturbing. To not read it would be like never eating an olive. Recommended again and again.

    17. Le descrizioni della antica casa avita, con le piante da frutto e le fontane con le piastrelle blu, mi hanno fatto immaginare l'Afghanistan (pre-bombe americane, pre-talebani, pre-urss, pre-tutto) come una specie di paradiso terrestre. Ben scritto, ben documentato e mai noioso.

    18. I don't think I would recommend this book. The writer was so scattered all over the place. I had a hard time keeping track to who and what was happening.

    19. Fascinating read. The more I read memoirs and personnel histories of Middle Asia the more I see what a pack of lies Washington has told us since the Regan era. Saira Shahs' book is remarkable. She tell of the beauty of her homeland and how different it was/is from her home in Kent. She tells of towering mountains, beautiful valleys, rushing rivers, and the brutality of war: shelling's mortar attacks, refugees, wounded with no medical care, hospitals with hundreds in wards just waiting to die and [...]

    20. I loved this woman's story of trying to find the myth that was her homeland. Her dreams of a paradise-like garden conjured from the stories her father told of Afghanistan were never to be realized. I learned a great deal, for instance, that Afghanistan has always been at war. Since the time of Alexander the Great, four centuries before Christ to today, they have been conquered or fought off conquerors from neighbor countries. Her time in the country during the Russian occupation and subsequent y [...]

    21. The author's search for the homeland of her myths was interesting to read. Also immensely enjoyed the introduction to the "real" Afghanistan that is more than just the war(s), and kind of wished there was more about it. I learned a lot about the country and also about my personal limitations (I didn't know anything about Afghanistan except the Taliban). But there was something that made the story not substantial enough. Not enough content, or at least not enough stretches of deep content. I'll n [...]

    22. Interesting story of the situation in Afghanistan and why we may never understand their unending civil war.

    23. Young woman of Afghani heritage returns to her ancestral homeland as a journalist embedded with the mujaheddin.

    24. The Storyteller’s Daughter is a memoir of a British born Afghan woman. The author’s narrative style is enjoyable and easy to read. Ms. Shah, a British journalist, intersperses Afghan and family history, philosophy and legends with her personal experiences. When a little girl her father told her stories about Afghanistan and later said, “I’ve given you stories to replace a community. They are your community.”Very early in the book she relates some of her experiences while filming “Ben [...]

    25. I found this book completely absorbing. The author has written a story that is informative, illuminating, passionate and wrenching as she takes us along on her quest to know her home land its mystique, its landscape and its people, her people.I have read half a dozen or so books on Afghanistan recently, my own quest of sorts to understand better some thing of the history, culture, and traditions of a people I have not had the benefit of knowing except through the lens of war as presented in our [...]

    26. Spellbinding. A good introduction to the happenings in Afghanistan from the 80s. An intriguing mix of fable and fact -- a real eye-opener as to the condition of the land and the people of Afghanistan.

    27. This book was difficult for me to get through but I am glad I finally returned to it and finished it. The book is a very introspective, non-fiction account of a British reporter who spends years on and off in Afghanistan covering the Russian occupation and subsequent civil war. I think the reason I found it hard to read was because it is quite self indulgent and because I was stressed as I anticipated things getting worse as the story progresses. The time of the Taliban rule is horrendous to rea [...]

    28. This book by Saira Shah was very interesting. I cannot imagine putting on a shalwar kameez, pretending to be a young man, and trekking around Afgahnistan with the Mujahideen during Afghanistan's war with the Soviet Union. What an amazing and unforgettable experience that must have been. For me, I felt Shah's book shed some light upon how difficult it is to live in two different worlds. On the one hand she grew up in the west, and on the other hand she was raised with a fierce love of her family' [...]

    29. This book was a great read for me because it is about Afghanistan and Pakistan and I traveled there at age 18. Many of the places described are places I visited and have impressionable memories of - notably Peshawar on the Pakistan/Afghanistan boarder, Kabul and Paghman.Interesting as well that I have read some of the books of Idries Shaw, father of Saira Shah, so the reflection on her life as a child growing with with her famous father, writer of Sufi stories, was another nice dimension of this [...]

    30. Saira Shah has an absorbing story to tell, herself, as we follow her in pursuit of an Afghanistan she was raised to believe in as a nearly mystical place, at her father's knee.A brilliant author with a fascinating life, Ms Shah kept me on the edge of my seat and the hours flew by as I listened to her descriptions of the Afghaney (sp?) people, the Taliban, and her travels through the mountain terrains to seek her ancestory home and people. What she found in the end was far more than she'd hoped f [...]

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