Tuesday, May 10, 2016

Bookish Thoughts: When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi

Though I love to see my children resting soundly, in the quiet of their slumber my uneasy mind retraces our journey.  ~ Opening of When the Moon Is Low



When the Moon is Low by Nadia Hashimi
William Morrow, 2015
Fiction; 384 pgs

As a child, Fereiba is treated like a servant by her stepmother. Her father caters to his wife and seems more absent than he is present. Fereiba longs to be loved and to go to school like her younger half-siblings. She is curious and hungry to learn. In the early part of the novel the reader sees a young Fereiba experience love, loss, and disappointment--life experiences that help mold her into the woman she will become.

As the Taliban regime takes over her beloved country of Afghanistan, life as Fereiba knew it changes completely. Violence and oppression become away of life. Her family lives in fear, hoping for a better future. They dream of fleeing the country like many of their other family members have already done. It isn't until Fereiba's husband, an engineer, is taken and killed by the Taliban, that Fereiba puts their plan into action. She knows that for her three children, one of which is a newborn, to have any sort of future, leaving the country is the only chance they have.

Nadia Hashimi's novel, When the Moon is Low, puts human faces on the some of the hardships endured by refugees. Fereiba and her children are desperate, lost and frightened. Fereiba is a mother who wants only to protect her children and keep them safe. The bonds of the family are tested. All they really have is each other.

The novel is told from the perspective of both Fereiba and her son Saleem, in alternating chapters. Both provide very compelling voices to the family's story. Fereiba is such a strong and resilient woman. She had to be for her children's sake. I related to Fereiba as a mother, and my heart went out to her and her children. Saleem is such a tough boy--tough in the sense of strong. He has to be, given all he goes through. He is your typical pre-teen to teenage boy, going through the typical developmental changes. He likes playing soccer and hanging out with other kids his age. And yet, his circumstances are far from ordinary. He takes on a great deal of responsibility and is ever loyal to his family. Hashimi is able to capture the boy and the man so thoroughly in his character, two sides of one coin.

Not much time is spent on Fereiba's daughter, but it is obvious she has had to take on new responsibilities too, growing up way too fast. She helps her mom in caring for her younger brother who is in desperate need of medical attention.

I fell in love with this novel from the start. The writing is beautiful. The characters feel so real. The story is such a sad one, intense, and heartbreaking, and yet there is also hope. Hope that they will reach their family in England. Hope that they will find a better life elsewhere. There was breath-holding and tears--both happy and sad.

I liked that Hashimi did not gloss over the refugee experience. Even while telling Fereiba and her children's stories, she also told the story of many others--how some had a more difficult time of it and others had it a bit easier. She paints a very realistic picture of the hardships and conditions refugees face--from the backlash, the lack of resources and support, including medical care, the cruelty of the system and certain individuals, as well as the helpfulness and kindness of some. I could not help but to feel emotionally involved in the story and come away wanting to help be a force of change, even if in a small way. Yet another reason I loved this book.


To learn more about Nadia Hashimi and her work, please visit the author's websiteShe can also be found on Goodreads, Facebook and Twiter.


I hope you will check out what others had to say about When the Moon is Low on the TLC Book Tours route!


Many thanks to the TLC Book Tours for the opportunity to be a part of this book tour. A copy of the book was provided by the publisher for an honest review.




© 2015, Wendy Runyon of Musings of a Bookish Kitty. All Rights Reserved. If you're reading this on a site other than Musings of a Bookish Kitty or Wendy's feed, be aware that this post has been stolen and is used without permission.

28 comments:

  1. This sounds like a powerful book! I'll have to put it on my TBR and hope it gets into the library!

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    1. Eustacia - It really was powerful. I hope you are able to read this one. It's definitely worth it.

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  2. I hope to get to this one someday. Thanks for your review!

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    1. Rachel - I haven't yet read the author's first book, although I have a copy. I really liked this one.

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  3. This sounds beautiful and heartbreaking and definitely a book I want to read. You shared a few teasers a little bit ago that I really enjoyed and I"m glad that the book matched the beauty of the writing and the cover!

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    1. Katherine - Oh, yes. Definitely both. I hope you do get a chance to read it.

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  4. This one's on my summer reading list; it sounds amazing. I can't wait. :)

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    1. Lark - I look forward to reading your thoughts on it! It's worth it.

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  5. Wow..that sounds like a powerful read, Wendy. My curiosity is piqued and I'm putting this on my TBR.

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    1. LuAnn - It was such a moving story. I look forward to reading more by this author in the future.

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  6. I have this author's first book, but did not know she had another one out already. I'll have to read them both, the stories sound very different but very moving.

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    1. Aarti - I haven't yet read her first book, but I do have a copy. If it's half as good as this one, I'm sure I'll love it. Her next book also sounds very different from these two. I am looking forward to reading that one eventually as well.

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  7. When the Moon is Low sounds like a good one that highlights the experiences of refugees. I love it when a book moves me emotionally. Great review as always!

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    1. Naida - It is such an eye-opener. I like books that affect me the way this one did too. Definitely one of my favorites so far this year.

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  8. Sounds like a read for which a box of tissues is required. I love books that evoke such strong emotions in me.

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    1. Tracy - Yes, a big box of tissues. My husband kept looking at me with this little sympathy smile on his face. I think he thinks it is cute when a book makes me cry.

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  9. The refugee experience has been on my mind more lately due to the current crises in the world. I always wonder how I would handle that situation if I had to live through it.

    I'm glad to see that this was such a fabulous read. Thanks for being a part of the tour!

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    1. Heather - I am so glad I could be a part of this book tour. The topic is definitely relevant to what is going on in the world today.

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  10. Sounds such a journey for all of them. I'd love to read this one.

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    1. Mystica - I can't even imagine going through all they did. Such a good book. I hope you do get to read it.

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  11. This sounds like such a great read. I need to add this to my list. Thank you for the wonderful review!

    Vonnie's Reading Corner

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    1. Vonnie - I hope you do get a chance to read it. It's one of my favorites so far this year.

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  12. This sounds wonderful! I'll definitely considering buying it.

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    1. Stephanie - I hope you enjoy it if you do read it. Stories like this are so important, I think.

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  13. This sounds like a wonderful book and also a book which will evoke lots of emotions! Will be reading it when my mood calls for it.

    Thanks for the lovely review, Wendy!

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    1. Melody - I found it to be very emotional. I hope more people will read it.

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    1. Lisa - Yes, it really is. With everything going on in regards to the Syrian refugees . . . I wish more people would read a book like this.

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