Khaled Siddiq "Charkhi" is only six years old when he and his entire extended family are imprisoned. Following a grand betrayal, Khaled's father and uncles, the respected right-hand men to the King of Afghanistan, become targets of the new regime. Khaled's father is exiled, his uncles are executed, and their families are locked away in a forgotten corner of Kabul.
So begins a decades-long struggle in captivity where Khaled faces the hardship of prison life while enduring tragedies as more of his loved ones are executed and succumb to diseases. Despite the tribulations he experiences, Khaled never gives up hope, choosing to make the most of his time by studying five different languages, advanced literature, and philosophy. Eventually, Khaled and his family are released from prison, but are they truly free? Forbidden from leaving the country, one thing continues to haunt Khaled: a longing to reunite with his father.
Shackled is a raw, heart-opening story about resilience. It follows the Charkhi family from the 1932 coup to the 1979 Soviet invasion. Amidst national and personal upheaval, Khaled finds his freedom by choosing to lead a life of optimism, kindness, joy, and love.
Adam Siddiq captures the memories of his grandfather, Khaled Siddiq, who was sent at the age of 6 to a prison with his mother and siblings along with aunts and cousins in 1932 following the overthrow of the King of Afghanistan. The story includes the tale of the education of the children in this large family unit, the execution and murder of the males in the family, some insight to the father that was exiled in Germany for 30+ years, how as the boys grew older they were removed from the care of mothers and sisters and sent to the men's prison and shackled. Even when there was a change in the government and the men and family were released and allowed to support their families, there was still a form of "arrest" that would limit travel. The book offers an interesting perspective and history of Afghanistan and the tie to Germany that eventually allowed Khaled Siddiq and his own wife and children to escape in the late 1970s just as Russia was influencing a new communistic government.
I strongly recommend this book. I appreciate that the author narrates the book to pronounce the words as his grandfather might and explains the terms. The narration may seem slow to some other listeners, I thought the pace was acceptable for the accent that comes when someone speaks other languages.
This might be a good book for students to consider or a teacher to suggest.