Friday, March 9, 2012

The Dressmaker of Khair Khana

Recently my library has updated their website, which includes a constantly updated scroll of the covers of their most popular books. I think this is a pretty smart move as a good cover is more powerful than a good title. For instance, the book in consideration.

As most of you know I am a dedicated seamstress. When I'm well, I'm never very far from my sewing area, and no matter what my health I'm always mentally sorting through designs for future projects. Fabric, needles, thread - they all catch my interest in a heartbeat. So of course when "The Dressmaker of Khair Khana" showed up on the library homepage, I instantly wanted to check it out.

The story I found does indeed strike home to a seamstress - but what makes it enduring is that it is relevant to all readers. To women, and to those who want to give the women in their lives the best future possible.

"The Dressmaker of Khair Khana" is the story of a young woman of Afghanistan, who along with her sisters was caught up in the Taliban rule. Under strict law, they were forbidden to work outside the home, leave the house without wearing a full burqa, could not go to school, and could not go out in public unless accompanied by a male family member. With the Taliban pressing all military age men into service (or executing them for treachery, perceived or otherwise), this left many of the women of capitol Kabul without breadwinners, or any way to earn money themselves. They were cooped up, left with minimal medical assistance, and in real danger of starving.

Kamila, the second eldest of five sisters, was only 19 when the Taliban marched in. For all of her life her father had encouraged her and her sisters to seek an education. Smart, talented and clever, she watched the future stolen away and her parents and elder brother forced to leave her and her sisters alone with only a 13-year-old brother to allow them any chance to leave the house. Money was quickly running out and the women of Kabul forced into a virtual dark age... until Kamila planned a way out.

"The Dressmaker of Khair Khana" is the extraordinary true story of a community surviving under terrible circumstances. It is the story of brave and courageous woman, and the remarkable men who supported and encouraged their dreams. It is a look into the very darkest and very brightest sides of Islam in a story that will endure for years to come.

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