17 Oct / A House Without Windows by Nadia Hashimi [in Library Journal]
Accused of brutally murdering her husband, Zeba lands in jail. A mother of four, wife to Kamal, and obedient to Kamal’s family, Zeba can’t remember what happened. She remains silently resigned, realizing that in contemporary Afghanistan, just being a woman is enough to threaten not just her freedom but her very life –for falling in love, helping others, becoming pregnant, the sort of charges Zeba’s fellow inmates face.
Into this impossible situation comes a young New York lawyer, determined to exonerate Zeba. Yusuf is Afghan-born but no longer lives there, and he possesses more conviction than experience; his insider/outsider status, however, will provide surprising access to family, neighbors, and eyewitnesses to reveal the shocking truth.
Nadia Hashimi’s third novel (The Pearl That Broke Its Shell; When the Moon Is Low) is another multi-generational, gender role-challenging page-tuner sure to draw listeners both new and old. Although gravelly voiced Susan Nezami receives top billing, she narrates less than four minutes (the prolog of Zeba speaking in the first person), leaving the rest – written in third person – to Ariana Delawari’s more youthful delivery.
Verdict: Although neither narrator proves perfectly matched to the material – Nezami sounds ancient, Delawari lacks gravitas – libraries will want to satisfy Hashimi’s substantial fan base with multiple format options.