My good friend, Pari, and I have been wanting to start a book club for ages. We made an honest attempt to start one a few months ago and so far we’ve both read I am Malala and The Taliban Cricket Club. We haven’t had a chance to meet solely to discuss the books, but we have talked about what we thought about them over text or gchat..better than nothing I guess, right?
So the most recent book we read was The Taliban Cricket Club by Timeri N. Murai. The book takes place in Kabul, Afghanistan, a city which is being ruled by the Taliban. In an effort to come across as more personable and well-liked with other nations, the Taliban wants to start an Afghan Cricket Club. The main protagonist, Rukhsana agrees to teach her brother and cousins cricket so that they may try out for the team. The team would be sent to Pakistan for training which was a perfect way to escape the Taliban.
While Rukshana teaches the boys cricket, we learn a lot about her family, such as how she returned to Kabul from Delhi to take care of her dying mother. There are flashbacks to her time in Delhi, the people that she had met, and how her life had changed once she returned home to Kabul and the Taliban.
Historical fiction is one of my favorite genres and so I liked this book quite a bit. The book talks about what Kabul used to be like pre-Taliban (Rukhsana’s grandmother never wore a niqab before the Taliban came into rule — she had quite the collection of gowns and dresses). We also witness, through the eyes of Rukshana, a public beheading. It shows the viewers just how much the Taliban changed the life of Afghans to the point where they are living in constant fear.
Rukshana was a great main character. She was strong, caring, thoughtful, and brave. She was an aspiring journalist and wrote articles about the Taliban (under a pseudonym) and continued despite the Taliban threatening her to stop.
I was happy the book ended the way that it did, but I wish the events leading up to the end were handled differently. So vague, I know..but I don’t want to spoil anything!
One of the cool things about our pseudo book club is hearing about the different ways we all take in the same information. I pictured Rukshana to be looking like this, while Pari was thinking something like this. That’s one of the things I like about books — a lot of it is open to our interpretation or imagination. By discussing our thoughts with others we get to broaden our initial insights on the book and learn something we may never thought of in the first place.
It’s inspired me to start my own book club on Meetup.com..my book club will be South Asian focused – from authors, characters, to where the story is based.
Are you a part of any book clubs? What is your favorite part about them?