THUNDER OVER KANDAHAR
AUTHOR- SHARON E.MCKAY
NO. OF PAGES: 279
FIRST PUBLISHED IN U.S.A BY ANNICK PRESS (U.S.) LTD.
THIS EDITION PUBLISHED IN 2011 BY OM BOOKS INTERNATIONAL
SYNOPSIS: Best friends Tamanna and Yasmine cannot believe their good fortune when a school is set up in their Afghan village; however, their dreams for the future are shattered when the Taliban burn down the school and threaten the teacher and students with death. As Tamanna faces an arranged marriage to an older man, and the Taliban target Yasmine’s Western educated family, the girls realise they must flee. Travelling through dangerous mountain passes, the two unaccompanied teens find themselves in mortal danger as they confront land mines, a suicide bomber, and roving bands of the Taliban. But when the two girls are separated, they are left without the one thing that has helped them survive-each other.
EXCERPT: As another dawn broke they stood on a hilltop. Above, the soaring mountains, streaked in ruby, yellow, and muted silver, looked cold and foreboding. Below, poplar trees flashed silver and green leaves. Small white almond flowers blanketed the hills. But down deep, in the gullies and crevices, were graveyards of trucks, tanks, donkey bones, and maybe human bones, too.
A twig snapped. Yasmine grabbed Tamanna’s arm and pulled her down behind a rock. “There!” She pointed. Above, standing on a rock face, a boy waved to them.
“What should we do?” Tamanna whispered.
ANUSHREE SAYS: As the title suggests it is a story set in war torn Afghanistan. As students while studying History we have read a lot about the beauty of Afghanistan, it was a country which was known for its culture, architecture and was home to many poets. Now we read about the tensions and the constant wars going on in that country. This particular story highlights the problem of “contemporary” Afghanistan. There is conflict going on between the foreign forces who want to help in the development of the nation and the Taliban.
The two main characters in this novel are Yasmine and Tamanna. Yasmine is a young girl who was born in England, attended primary school in Oxford and was then brought to Afghanistan by her parents. They wanted to serve and contribute towards the development of their homeland. Her parents are her biggest support and want her to get proper education so that even she can serve her country. On the other hand Tamanna is a shy and timid girl who has been born and brought up in the conservative environment of Afghanistan. She is looked after by her mother and an abusive uncle. Two very different individuals who develop a strong bond of friendship and are willing to help each other in any situation. The story has been narrated from Yasmine’s point of view.
The story has been beautifully narrated by the author and does not lose grip at any point of time. The situations, conversations and the emotions all seem to be real and completely connected to the geographical scenario of the nation. I was personally moved by the part when the two girls set out on their journey to gain freedom from the harsh realities of life. They face land mines, Talib soldiers and go through mind conflicts which prove to be impediments in their path, but they don’t lose their will and eventually get the way. An emotional story written with utmost honesty and touches the readers heart.
MY RATING: 4/5