From the author of the “bighearted . . . inspiring” (Vogue) memoir Kabul Beauty School comes a fiction debut as compelling as real life: the story of a remarkable coffee shop in the heart of Afghanistan, and the men and women who meet there - thrown together by circumstance, bonded by secrets, and united in an extraordinary friendship.
After hard luck and some bad choices, Sunny has finally found a place to call home - it just happens to be in the middle of a war zone. The thirty-eight-year-old American’s pride and joy is the Kabul Coffee House, where she brings hospitality to the expatriates, misfits, missionaries, and mercenaries who stroll through its doors. She’s especially grateful that the busy days allow her to forget Tommy, the love of her life, who left her in pursuit of money and adventure.
Working alongside Sunny is the maternal Halajan, who vividly recalls the days before the Taliban and now must hide a modern romance from her ultratraditional son - who, unbeknownst to her, is facing his own religious doubts. Into the café come Isabel, a British journalist on the trail of a risky story; Jack, who left his family back home in Michigan to earn “danger pay” as a consultant; and Candace, a wealthy and well-connected American whose desire to help threatens to cloud her judgment.
When Yazmina, a young Afghan from a remote village, is kidnapped and left on a city street pregnant and alone, Sunny welcomes her into the café and gives her a home - but Yazmina hides a secret that could put all their lives in jeopardy. As this group of men and women discover that there’s more to one another than meets the eye, they’ll form an unlikely friendship that will change not only their own lives but the lives of an entire country.
Brimming with Deborah Rodriguez’s remarkable gift for depicting the nuances of life in Kabul, and filled with vibrant characters that readers will truly care about, A Cup of Friendship is the best kind of fiction - full of heart yet smart and thought-provoking.
©2011 Deborah Rodriguez (P)2011 Random House Audio
Advance praise for A Cup of Friendship: "Rodriguez paints a vivid picture of Afghan culture…as if Maeve Binchy had written The Kite Runner.” (Kirkus Reviews)
“With a message…to protect and empower the women of Kabul, Rodriguez weaves her tale of life, death, and marriage…Readers will appreciate the in-depth, sensory descriptions of this oft-mentioned and faraway place that most have never seen.” (Booklist)
“A superb debut novel…Rodriguez captures place and people wholeheartedly, unveiling the faces of Afghanistan's women through a wealth of memorable characters who light up the page.” (Publishers Weekly)
This is a lovely little book and easy to listen to. I also learned a lot about Afganastan and the Taliban. The story is fairly predictable, but told in a way that was interesting and held my attention ... yes, even while driving on the Interstate. Perfect summer book.
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