The Pearl That Broke Its Shell
I have to confess, This is a second novel of Nadia Hashimi that I have read, the 1st being “When The Moon is Low”. The Pearl That Broke Its Shell is Nadia Hashimi’s Debut novel, and I have throughly enjoyed this one a lot more. I love that this novel is centred around strong women.
A Thought-provoking and wise words I quote from the novel…
“Life has typhoons. They come and turn everything upside down. But you still have to standup because the next storm may be around the corner.”
~The Pearl that Broke its Shell by Nadia Hashimi ~
The Pearl That Broke Its Shell, is a remarkable and tender tale of two women from a family, separated by a century and several generations, Shekiba and Rahima, who both have similar stories that boils down to controlling and managing their ‘Naseeb” (Destinies). Based in Afghanistan, Nadia Hashimi, brings to light the many issues that women and families in this part of the World, have to live with in their daily lives. Both these Protagonists, show the courage and determination to live with some freedom, in a country that openly oppresses it’s women folk. A traditional Afghan practise of “Bacha Posh” is highlighted in this novel, where young girls are allowed to dress and live as boys until they reach a marriageable age.
We are taken through the lives of these dynamic women, in a skip between the generations, with Young Rahima eagerly listening to all the stories her aunt, Khala Shaima-jan relates about her Great, Great GrandAunt, Shekiba. Shekiba is disfigured by an early childhood accident, that leaves her badly scared, and is forced to live life trying to hide behind burkahs and headscarves. When Shekiba’s family all eventually die due to a cholera epidemic, she is the only one in her household that survives, but life only just gets more challenging for without her family.
Rahima, on the other hand, is one of five other daughters, a household full of girl children which is a big disappointment for many Afghan families. With her father most times away on work, or in a drugged induced state on opium, her mother finally relents to her sister Shaima, who had given her the idea of Bacha Posh, just as Shekiba, had done many generations before. Rahima, a then 9 year old, had been chosen to be their families bacha posh, and was able to freely move about outdoors, so her mother could get all the stuff she needed to run an efficient home. She was even then allowed to return to school, which she revelled in.
But all this comes crashing down, when Rahima’s father, sells off 3 of his daughters into marriage at a young age. We watch the many more trials and tribulations these young girls and, also Shekiba, have to endure. Will they be able to make a better life for themsleves, or would it all still boil down to their “NASEEB”.
Go get yourself a copy of this gripping read, filled with moments that will leave you feeling GRATEFUL, that we live in a society and country that allows us women so much more freedom.
THE PEARL THAT BROKE ITS SHELL BY NADIA HASHIMI GETS A FOODEVA MARSAY RATING OF…
⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ OUT OF 5
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